ILAW, DOE Explore Solutions for Efficient and Affordable Electricity

ILAW, DOE Explore Solutions for Efficient and Affordable Electricity

Energy organization ILAW’s Palawan Chapter and other stakeholders opened the discourse on exploring solutions to help drive prices lower and address the supply gap in Palawan and the Philippines through alternative energy sources during the People’s Power Summit last May 3, 2024 at the CityState Asturias Hotel in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. 

ILAW Palawan Lead Convenor Dr. Tony Cabrestante led the summit alongside the Department of Energy (DOE) and 30 participants from the Puerto Princesa Chamber of Commerce, Palawan Alliance of Clean Energy (PACE), Palawan provincial government, Puerto Princesa local government unit, PALECO member-consumer-owners (MCOs), energy advocates, and Palawan expatriates seeking actionable measures for reliable electricity for communities and businesses.

Atty. Gerthie Mayo-Anda from the PACE Environmental Legal Assistance Center highlighted the grave impact of the power crisis on work and businesses, noting the challenges of adjusting to constant power outages. “Nahihinto ang trabaho kapag walang ilaw. For professionals and students who study hybrid, mahirap makahabol. There is a significant impact on the work we do,” she emphasized.

During the summit, attendees explored various alternative energy sources to manage electricity costs and achieve the goal of providing reliable electricity for all consumers. Atty. Mayo-Anda recommended sourcing from a combination of hydropower and diesel power plants as the least-cost option for reducing electricity bills. 

Meanwhile, former Palawan Advisor for Energy Cesar Ventura believes in utilizing complementary technologies such as battery energy storage systems (BESS) for hybrid power systems to lower electricity bills and augment electricity supply.

“Mas maganda kung ang BESS ay ikakabit sa solar energy para hindi na mag-charge galing sa diesel. Pangalawa, maganda itong solusyon dahil ma-a-address ang power fluctuations,” remarked Ventura.

However, Department of Energy Asec. Mario C. Marasigan underscored the need for crucial support from private investors for alternative energy projects to succeed in the country. “Sabihan na po natin, kulang ang panghihikayat natin na makapasok ang private investors. Hangga’t nahihirapan po ang mga developers, nagiging deterrent po iyon sa mga alternative energy projects. Bigyan po natin ng insentibo na magtayo ng planta ng renewable energy.”

Due to the unreasonable electricity rates that have plagued Palaweños for years, the summit’s participants also called for transparency on the Emergency Power Supply Agreement (EPSA) agreements entered into by the power distributor in the province.

Jane Urbanek of the Puerto Princesa Chamber of Commerce echoed the grievances of Atty. Mayo-Anda, highlighted the poor state of businesses in Puerto princesa due to the power crisis. “It’s really bad business in Puerto Princesa right now. Maliban sa pagharap sa inflation, kinakailangan din naming harapin ang mataas na singil sa kuryente. PALECO also has a big impact on what’s happening,” she said.

ILAW-Palawan Lead Convenor Dr. Cabrestante expressed optimism in realizing a more promising future for Palawan and the Philippines, leveraging the potential solutions deliberated upon during the summit.

“Salamat sa pagpapaliwanag sa mga problema ukol sa enerhiya dito sa amin. Sana ay nariyan pa rin kayo na aming kaagapay sa pagtugon sa mga suliraning-kuryente para sa tunay nating maliwanag na kinabukasan.”

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