“We think it’s a communication gap that needs to be addressed, and we laud organizations trying to bridge that gap. Because when we go to the customers, they actually don’t know that they can be part of the program. And it’s these small things that we do like this webinar and all. It’s aggressively reaching out and trying to communicate through learning sessions like this that will greatly help. I think that’s one of the many solutions, but I think that’s one gap that we’ve seen over the past few months. We continue to talk to customers and they’d comment, ‘A, meron pala nito (Oh, so this is available),” said First Gen Vice President for Power Marketing, Trading and Economics Carlos Vega in reply to my question.
GEOP and clean energy revolution
First Gen has announced that it will allot around 690 megawatts of geothermal power for GEOP. Vega, who was one of the panelists at the “Understanding the Green Energy Option Program” webinar organized by the Center for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technology, was responding to my question on how we could change mindsets so that more people will embrace green energy. After all, fossil fuel companies, which are among the world’s worst polluters, are spending so much on advertising and lobbying.
Not only that, but also financial institutions such as Standard Chartered are still fueling the climate crisis, which is one of the reasons another Global Climate Strike will be held tomorrow, March 19.
“Standard Chartered claims to support the Paris Agreement, yet has funnelled over $24 billion into fossil fuel companies since the agreement was signed. Other banks have set clear deadlines for phasing out coal completely. But Standard Chartered’s current policy projects money flowing to major coal companies until long after 2030. By then, we’ll need to have slashed 78 percent of the existing global coal plant fleet to stay below 1.5C of warming, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.”
Which is why it’s truly important to make more Filipinos realize that GEOP gives them the choice to embrace renewable energy. While many might not be aware of it, Republic Act No. 9513 or the Renewable Energy Act of 2008 pushes the following policies:
- Accelerate the exploration and development of RE resources
- Achieve energy self-reliance
- Adoption of clean energy to mitigate climate change
- Promote socio-economic development in rural areas
Providing green energy options
GEOP is a voluntary policy mechanism under RA 9513. It allows electricity end-users with 100 kilowatt and above demand to source their electricity supply from renewable energy sources through renewable energy suppliers.
“The RE Act has both mandatory and voluntary provisions towards promotion, utilization, and commercialization of renewable energy in the country. So there is a striking balance between what program a consumer will be engaged in. So it’s either a DU (distribution utility) wholly contracting the RE supplier, or a customer under the Green Energy Option Program and the Net-Metering. For the mandatory, the Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) and the RE Market will be able to facilitate compliance. In the fact, the National Renewable Energy Program is looking at, under the RPS, a minimum of 35 percent RE share in the generation by 2030,” said Renewable Energy Management Bureau OIC Director Mylene C. Capongcol in response to my question.
What the government is providing more renewable energy options to the public, which should help encourage even more Filipinos to embrace green energy.
“A lot of our consumers now are more conscious in terms of green companies. And especially the millennials, even when they work for companies, they look for companies which have a green portfolio or a sustainable portfolio. So I think the mindset is going there. The pandemic has actually hastened the use of the internet, and so a lot of online platforms will be very helpful in being able to spread information and the campaign on greening not only our energy, but our lifestyle as well,” said RTI Energy Secure Philippines Policy and Finance Adviser Claire Yvonne Lee.
The time is now
Indeed, the time may finally be ripe for the renewable energy revolution to finally change the world.
“Actually, there are a lot of Filipinos who are ready to jump into the renewable energy bandwagon, except that they don’t know how. I think it requires more information about it. There are still a lot of people who are having a challenge embracing change, but this is the prime time to go about it, because climate change is already here, and as mentioned earlier, millennials are very much into [a green lifestyle],” said Green Architecture Advocacy Philippines Chairperson Luisa Daya-Garcia.
“It’s not going to be as difficult as when we started this. You know, in Green Architecture Advocacy Philippines, we started promoting green design and green architecture 17 years ago. Almost two decades. And it was very difficult to sell the idea of going green. But currently, there are so many organizations, so many groups, and even so many students embracing this. And as you know a lot of people are going solar in their own residences. I think it’s really about time that we bring this sort of information to a greater audience,” she said.
How about you? Are you ready to be part of the renewable energy revolution?