• Energy efficiency to save PH trillions of pesos

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    INSTITUTING a policy on energy efficiency and conservation to head off growing demand and increased cost of power can save the Philippines trillions of pesos over the next 12 years, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said on Wednesday.

    Having energy efficiency and conservation strategies in place “will not only achieve much-needed savings for the government, but it can also significantly bring down the prices of electricity and give consumers extra money in their pockets to spend for other basic necessities,” Gatchalian told members of the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines.

    The senator estimated savings of P1.6 trillion from 2018 to 2030, or P126.4 billion on average per year if the country can achieve even 50 percent of the energy efficiency attained by Germany, one of the leading energy efficient nations in the world.

    Conversely, if the Philippine can fully ascribe to Germany’s efficiency standards, then the savings could reach P5.5 trillion or P420 billion a year.

    Presuming the national energy efficiency and consumption program is in place, electricity demand could decline to “22,589 megawatts (MW) at 50 percent and 100 percent Germany-like efficiency, respectively,” according to the lawmaker.

    In turn, “actual electricity consumption could go as low as 454 kilowatt hours per capita by 2030, less than half of the projected per capita consumption mark under current efficiency standards,” he said.

    Under the scenario of having achieved 50 percent of German energy efficiency, the Philippine would still need an additional generation capacity of around 5,771 MW from 2018 to 2030. At 100 percent of the German efficiency level, the required addition capacity would go down to 17,524 MW, Gatchalian added.

    Benchmarking energy efficiency standards to the United States, the lawmaker said the total savings for the Philippines would be P419.9 billion using a 50-percent threshold.

    In case the Philippines manages to achieve the 100-percent threshold based on US standards, the savings would reach P1.39 trillion.

    In both cases, the Philippines would be able to come up with net savings in the energy sector.

    Gatchalian said energy efficiency would make the country less dependent on imported coal, skirt the need to buy 290.2 million metric tons of coal from foreign suppliers in the 12 years to 2030—leading to annual average savings of $1.3 billion.

    The senator said he recognized needs to earmark funds to buy, develop and use energy efficient technologies and structures.

    The bottom line is that the administration needs to reevaluate and “overhaul its energy source priorities and look into energy efficiency and conservation as the ultimate solution to providing stable and more affordable electricity to the Filipino people,” he added.

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