CLIMATE change solutions-provider World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) reiterated its support for the government’s Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) system. The FiT guarantees Renewable Energy (RE) developers a constant generation rate per KWh over the next 20 years, with periodic reviews by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to adjust rates for foreign exchange and inflation.
Various groups recently opposed the FiT, arguing how rates might further burden consumers. However, Philippine electricity rates have historically increased faster than the FiT – due mainly to the fact that 70 percent of the nation’s electricity is generated from fossil-fuels, 90 percent of which are imported at varying prices. The International Energy Agency forecasts a steady increase in the cost of coal and oil over the next decade.
One of the country’s few competitive advantageous is its vast renewable energy resources. In the 1970s, the Philippines had the foresight to invest in indigenous geothermal power, which is now cheaper than coal. “We are a fossil-fuel poor country,” explains WWF-Philippines Climate and Energy Unit Head Atty. Gia Ibay. “Investing in RE shields us from the volatility of the fossil fuel market while taking advantage of what we have been endowed with.”
RE plants can be directly embedded onto certain key areas to further reduce the cost of electricity, eliminating the need for transmission and distribution lines to deliver electricity from power plants to households.
“The FiT paves the way for necessary RE investments. Unlike power plants which burn dirty and imported coal or oil – RE provides consistent, indigenous and clean power at a constant price for decades—especially since it has a 0 percent VAT rate. We believe that the FiT is a sound long-term investment for clean, cheap power,” adds Ibay.
In short, Filipinos will pay less for RE power in the long run.
Currently employing three million people globally, RE also generates more jobs. “Renewables generally provide from three to six times more jobs per unit of energy produced than either fossil-fuel or nuclear plants,” adds WWF Global Energy Policy Director Dr. Stephan Singer.