Renewable energy should be priority of next administration

The next administration should speed up the implementation of the country’s renewable energy program that will ease the problematic power situation while ensuring the protection of environment.

This call was made by vice presidential candidate Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr., who said that renewable energy offers the best solution to avert an impending power crisis and address an ever-increasing energy demand.

Marcos, a staunch advocate of renewable energy, said the next administration must vigorously increase the country’s RE capacity targets to make it at least 50 percent by 2030.

“We need to boost our renewable energy program and this should be prioritized to ensure economic development while protecting our environment,” he said.

At present, some 70 percent of the nation’s electricity is generated from fossil-fuels, 90 percent of which are imported. Experts have predicted that if the country remains to be coal and oil-dependent, Filipinos should expect higher power costs because of the steady increase in the prices of these fossil fuels in the world market.

The only solution, according to Marcos, is for the country to increase its renewable energy portfolio.

“The next administration should be aggressive in increasing our renewable energy programs by encouraging companies to build more solar, wind and hydrogen power plants,” he said. This can be done, he said by giving them additional perks on their investments and cutting bureaucratic red tape.

Currently, the Bureau of Investments (BOI) gives incentives to RE companies which include income tax holiday for seven years, duty-free importation of renewable energy machinery, among others. However, Marcos said, more have to be given in order to encourage RE companies in doing their business here.

“Our government needs to give support for research and investigation of possible sites for RE endeavors and pilot locations as well as give them more tax exemptions in the production aspect,” he stressed.

Marcos also noted the complaints of RE companies on the slow processing of their applications before regulatory bodies. “Many of them are complaining about the slow processing of their applications for land conversion and other environmental clearance from the national level to the local level. This should be shortened or simplified,” he said.

Marcos added, “(t)he said the government should ease the process of doing business in the country in general so that companies like those engaged in RE will be encouraged to invest here.”

Marcos had been instrumental in building the first wind farms in Southeast Asia while he was governor of Ilocos Norte in 2003. The wind farms in Ilocos Norte have become the country’s flagship projects for renewable energy.

During his stint in the Senate, Marcos authored Senate Bill No. 2953 or the Act creating a Hydrogen Research and Development Center to support and encourage the use and development of hydrogen as an alternative source of energy.

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