Senator seeks creation of energy research institute

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Senator Win Gatchalian has proposed legislation that will bring the Philippine energy sector up to speed with innovative technologies and make the industry more responsive to the demands of consumers and sector players.

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Senate Bill (SB) No. 1290, proposes the establishment of a Philippine Energy Research and Policy Development Institute (PERPDI) in the University of the Philippines School of Economics in Diliman.
“The energy sector is naturally characterized by rapidly changing technologies,” Gatchalian, who is also the chair of the Senate Committee on Energy, said over the weekend.

“Unfortunately, most of the country’s policy instruments cannot keep up due to limitations in local research and technical capabilities. This bill seeks to address these limitations by establishing an institution which will bridge research and policy gaps in pursuit of Philippine energy security, affordability, and sustainability,” he said.

Gatchalian added that because of scarce data bases in universities and research centers focusing on energy, government has been tapping private foreign-funded institutions and organizations to access essential data for policy discussions.

To address this problem, SB 1290 mandates the PERPDI to “undertake collaborative energy research and policy development among the academe and stakeholders; provide timely technical assistance to the government on energy issues needing policy direction and advise; and create and administer programs intended to build the capacity of government agencies, energy stakeholders, and the academe.”

The concept of PERPDI is modeled after similar institutions hosted by top American universities, including the Yale Climate and Energy Institute, Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy, the Cornell Energy Institute, Stanford’s Precourt Institute for Energy, Boston University’s Institute for Sustainable Energy, and the Energy Institute of the University of Michigan, among others.

Under the bill, the PERPDI will also be charged with “ensuring that the results of energy research and policy development activities are utilized to improve the energy sector, the economy, and the lives of the people.”
“Formulating and executing a concrete blueprint for the future of the energy sector is critical to fostering inclusive long-term growth and development for our country. The creation of PERPDI will be an important milestone in our quest to achieve these ambitious socio-economic goals,” Gatchalian said.

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