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18 successful rural RE projects lauded; PHL targets 35% RE mix by 2030

Key personalities speak before the concluding rites of the Development for Renewable Energy Applications Mainstreaming and Market Sustainability (DREAMS) of the Department of Energy (DOE) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) at the Marco Polo Hotel, Ortigas Center, Pasig City, July 18.Among them (from leftmost to rightmost) are Dr. Bjorn Santos of Mariano Marcos State University, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Asec. Roderick Planta, Department of Energy (DOE) Usec. Rowena Cristina Guevara, renewable energy ambassador Kim Atienza, Board Member Rolando Distura of the Iloilo Provincial Government, UNDP Capacity Building Advisor Atty. Josefina Asirit, and former DREAMS Project Steering Committee chair and former DOE Usec. Engr. Emmanuel Juaneza.

To be able to achieve its goals of a renewable energy (RE) mix of 35 percent by 2030 and 50 percent by 2040, the Philippines needs to bring more clean technologies and energy fuels into the Philippines in the next 17 years.

This was disclosed by Department of Energy (DOE) Undersecretary Dr. Rowena Guevara as she made clear that these numbers are “not an aspiration but are the targets” during the recent concluding rites of the Development for Renewable Energy Applications Mainstreaming and Market Sustainability (DREAMS) held at Marco Polo Hotel, in Pasig.

The occasion marked support for an RE investments-enabling policy environment and successful implementation of RE initiatives in the country’s far-flung communities. It also underscored the importance of local support facilities for RE in achieving the country’s RE targets.

“This target requires collective efforts from all stakeholders in the public and private sectors,” said Guevara, who also served as the alternate chair of the DREAMS Project steering committee. “The enforcement of a supportive policy and regulatory environment in RE development and applications at the local level will increase RE investment and commercialization.”

Remote areas throughout the Philippines face critical challenges, such as a lack of access to potable water, unreliable health services, and unstable electricity supply.

The DREAMS project, initiated in 2016 and implemented by the DOE through its Renewable Energy Management Bureau (REMB), in partnership with the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Philippines, showcased that RE investment can address these addressed these issues by enabling installations of solar-powered water systems, rooftop solar PV installations, and renewable energy-powered facilities like hospitals and fire stations.

Rowena Cristina Guevara
Usec. Rowena Cristina Guevara

At the event, mayors from Ajuy and Carles, both Iloilo towns, Goa, Camarines Sur, and San Remigio, Antique, shared RE success stories in their locality, highlighted by improved electricity access, economic opportunities, and sustainable development in their communities.

“Because of solar power, we now have an uninterrupted power supply, 24 hours a day. The project has greatly helped Gigantes Island, which is a tourist destination, thanks to electric power through the DREAMS project,” Carles Mayor Siegfredo Betita explained.

DREAMS successfully implemented 18 renewable energy initiatives with a 1.64 MW installed capacity, backed by a grant of US$1.7 million. Nearly a thousand households gained direct access to renewable energy, while more than 21,000 households were connected to electric cooperatives with grid-tied renewable energy sources. This initiative involved 17 local government units, seven electric cooperatives, academic institutions, and civic organizations.

Dr. Selva Ramachandran, the UNDP Resident Representative to the Philippines, highlighted RE’s transformative power.

“We have seen the importance of local level planning in shaping sustainable development and achieving not only the national energy goals but also SDGs, particularly SDG 7 in ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. We have witnessed firsthand the collaborative efforts between electric cooperatives and local government units in implementing renewable energy projects,” Ramachandran shared.

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