CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY: Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri on Friday urged Environment Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga to ensure the establishment of more renewable energies (REs) to lessen the country's dependence on coal.

During his speech at the second day of the multistakeholder forum here, Zubiri added that former Energy secretary Alfonso Cusi failed to implement the country's program on REs.

"We are trying to push for the renewable energy portfolio standards. Under the renewable portfolio standard, most major power producers, particularly coal and gas power plants, were supposed to be getting renewable energy as part of their portfolio. There was a delay in its implementation during the time of former secretary Cusi," Zubiri said.

Zubiri expressed confidence that Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla will hasten the implementation of the renewable energy power projects.

"There are many pending renewable energy power projects due to the lack of push from the previous administration, that is why I am happy Secretary Popo Lotilla is there. Secretary Lotilla sees the problem of lack of power and REs as the best way to of course fill up that gap because it is expensive to put up a coal power plant. Coal is very expensive but solar is still affordable; we can put up wind sources," Zubiri noted.

Zubiri added that renewable energy should be pushed all over the country.
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"We have to push that all over the country, the whole eastern seaboard, Davao Oriental all the way up to Isabela, Cagayan province, from Eastern Samar, all the way up to Bicol Region, we can put up wind facilities there. We have to harness the power of the wind. So that is not very difficult," he added.

Zubiri noted that in 2022, the electricity rates in Mindanao increased to P16 per kilowatt hour from P9 per kilowatt hour.

"We need to bring down our cost because right now, the coal power plant is giving us P16 per kilo here in Mindanao for our consumers, and it's hurtful. Last year, we were only paying P9 per kilowatt hour, not to mention it is already expensive and damaging to our climate. We should already do away with these fossil fuels and just go with renewable energy for the next six years under the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.," he added.

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