The European Union (EU) has committed a grant of P12 billion to the Philippines for cooperation in the field of energy in the next six years.
Under the high-level cooperation, the EU will initially grant P3 billion to support the programs of the Department of Energy (DOE) and other energy-related agencies.
EU ambassador to the Philippines Guy Ledoux said energy is one of the priority areas for the EU’s development cooperation program with the country.
“Our first program with the DOE and energy agencies is currently being finalized,” Ledoux told participants at Energy Smart Philippines 2015, a two-day energy conference and exhibition being held at the SMC Convention Center in Pasay City.
Ledoux said the program will focus on supporting the DOE’s 90 percent electrification target through policy reforms, supporting existing electrification programs and deployment of renewable energy technologies and innovative energy solutions for the poor.
“We will continue to share expertise with the DOE and national energy agencies. We will work together to ensure that renewable technology also reaches people who need it the most,” he said.
One of the challenges faced by the Philippines, he added, is to ensure the provision of reliable and affordable energy to sustain growth.
“The Philippines today is a thriving economy with one of the highest economic growths in Asia. International forecasters see high growth in the coming decades,” he said.
The EU noted that the Philippines needs to double its energy generation capacity in the next 10 years to meet the demand brought about by economic growth
Ledoux said the European private sector is already strongly involved in the energy sector in the Philippines, citing as an example the offshore platform for the Malampaya gas field, which has been expanded to extend the life of the Malampaya operation.
He added that European companies were also strongly involved in the establishment of the largest solar panel farm in the country which was inaugurated by President Benigno S. Aquino 3rd last year.
“The European private sector is at the heart of the energy sector in the Philippines,” he said.
For his part, Michael Raeuber, president of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP), said the EU and the Philippines both consider energy as an important sector that can provide opportunities for cooperation, experience sharing, and technology transfer between the two parties.
Secretary Zenaida Monsada, DOE officer-in-charge, welcomed the continuing interest and support of the EU in the country’s energy sector.
“The DOE looks forward to a more fruitful collaboration and cooperation with the EU in the coming years,” said Monsada.