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Powering PH

Vox Pops – Optimizing Renewable Energy Opportunities In The Philippines

How the Philippines can optimize its great renewable energy potential – solar, wind, hydro, bioenergy, and geothermal – was one of the main themes of the second annual Powering the Philippines conference organized by GE Philippines on April 11.

The 180 conference attendees including GE customers, sector regulators, and other energy stakeholders, listened to renewable energy experts in presentations, and roundtable sessions covering a range of salient topics. The main speakers included Reman Chua, VP of Business Development of Energy Development Corporation, Salvador Castro, Jr., President & CEO of Cleantech Global Renewables, Silvestre Natividad, President of Sunwest Water & Electric Co. and industry-group PhilHydro., Wee Khoon Oh, Managing Director of Sobono Energy, Jay Layug, Chairman of National Renewable Energy Board, Wimpy Fuentebella, Undersecretary of Department of Energy, and Steven Oswald, General Manager for Commercial Operations – Onshore Wind of GE Renewable Energy.

Vox Pops

At the end of the conference, GE Reports spoke to a number of attendees who shared their views on some of the most pressing ‘next steps’ required to advance renewable energy expansion in the Philippines.

1. Wake-up call for the government to make the permitting process quicker and more efficient

The government requires numerous permits from different government agencies for the development of all power plants and for the longest time, this has been one of the major hindrances that developers go through with any project.

Edwin Almario, Sr. Project Manager, CleanTech Renewable Energy

Key Takeaways – “The panel discussion was very helpful as well and hopefully that would enable or has a shout out to the government, to the Philippine government to really accelerate the growth of renewable energy and support all of the endeavors, and speed up the permitting process.”

Tom Teehan, CEO of Solrev Energy

Key Takeaways – “I think one of the highlights for today was during the panel session this morning, talking to the undersecretary and hearing that there’s potentially some deregulation or some expediting in terms of the current process for pre-development when it comes to solar” Watch the video to hear more about Tom’s views and opinions on solar opportunities.

2. A united approach is needed to power a brighter and cleaner Philippines

Developers may go through different experiences each time they start a new project and granted, challenges arise especially with acquiring permits. But no matter the industry, one thing they have in common is their commitment to power a brighter future for the Philippines. The developers, government agencies and regulators need to work together to ensure a stable supply of clean energy for the country.

Tom Teehan, CEO of Solrev Energy

Key Takeaways – “For us in solar, the FIT is gone of course and so we’re learning how to develop based on true market strategies whereas other renewable energy industries are still utilizing some FIT and obviously there’s a big difference there, so hearing both sides, we all go through.” Watch the video to hear more about Tom’s views on the industry’s drive to power the country.

3. Continue the momentum as the Philippine government pushes forward with positive policy changes

With the country’s growing power industry, the government has been making policy changes that will best refine the development of projects and support the renewable energy shift. Policies such as the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) will support the development of renewable energy projects moving forward.

Tom Teehan, CEO of Solrev Energy

Key Takeaways – “We’re very, very committed to our efforts here in the Philippines so we’re always energized as one of your compatriots said this morning. But it’s encouraging to see that the government is really starting to listen to the industry.” Watch the video to hear more about Tom’s take on the government’s policy developments.

Gian Carlo Valerio, President of Solana Solar

Key Takeaways – “I think one of the main highlights here is that we’ve been hearing the RPS Standards being released for the longest time now but I think there’s a better push from the DOE in terms of the rollout because I think when we speak, I myself as a developer when I speak of the DUs, I think there’s still a lack of understanding from their end in terms of what exactly the RPS means. And I think now that they’re doing a roadshow to the different regions and explaining their actual energy requirements or renewable energy requirements as a result of the RPS then I think that’s going to be a big like I said previously, in terms of getting that energy back into the renewable energy sector.” Watch the video to hear more about Gian’s views on the policy changes and growing opportunities for RE developers

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