Energy chief orders fast tracking of renewable energy program

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 28) — Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi has ordered faster implementation of the National Renewable Energy Program 2020-2040 to achieve its target of 20,000 megawatts of renewable energy in 20 years.

“There is a need to fast track the NREP to help the country achieve the goals set forth in the Renewable Energy Act of 2008,” Cusi said in a statement on Tuesday.

The program contains the policy framework under the Republic Act 9513, or the Renewable Energy Act of 2008.

The official also said that it is already late to update the NREP 2011-2030 given developments in the past years.

The department said based on its accomplishment report for 2020, NREP 2020-2040 presents a “paradigm shift” by renewable energy systems, namely:

1. Consumer + RE Systems that aims to develop renewable energy for consumers in the agriculture, health and education sectors;

2. Consumer + RE Systems + Distribution Utility that aims to promote investments; and

3. Consumer + RE Systems + Distribution Utility + System and Market Operations that targets to increase investments in large-scale renewable energy projects and accelerate compliance with standards and policies.

The shift comes amid President Rodrigo Duterte's recent proclamation that that he was “ready to open the borders” for trade, including “big time” coal which is considered to be a nonrenewable energy because it takes time to form.

Earlier this month, Duterte told military troops in Jolo that “coal will be used for the next 30 years,” while solar energy is unsustainable.

Meanwhile, groups across Asia are urging China-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to stop financing fossil fuel projects and instead focus on helping “build economic resilience” as countries try to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The toxic impacts of these projects not only undermine global climate goals, but also exacerbate the consequences of the coronavirus crisis,” Asian People’s Movement on Debt and Development said in an open letter to the financial institution.

It added that what is needed now are “climate-friendly responses” both for the health and climate crises.

APMDD Coordinator Lidy Nacpil also said that they should close policy loopholes in order to stop supporting such projects.

The group also called out the institution’s lack of clear strategy on achieving its own climate mitigation targets despite its pledge in 2017. APMDD noted a report that for every $1 the bank invests in renewable energy, at least twice is invested in fossil fuels.