Better enforcement of PH renewable energy laws sought amid climate crisis

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 5) — As the Philippines joins other countries in the resolve to combat the climate crisis, an environmental organization said there's a need to improve the country's current renewable energy laws.

"The laws are there but they're not enforced. There are still policy gaps for renewable energy to really take center stage in our energy transition," Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) national coordinator Ian Rivera told CNN Philippines' The Exchange on Friday.

Rivera recounted how they filed a petition for writ of continuing mandamus against the Department of Energy (DOE) in 2017, arguing the agency did not flesh out the implementing rules and regulations for important provisions of the Renewable Energy Act.

"The Department of Energy has not prioritized implementing the rules and regulations in order to guide renewable energy players in providing the necessary energy mix of our country," Rivera said.

AC Energy, meanwhile, noted there's already demand for renewable energy, but policies in place must be enforced so energy platforms can all the more participate in the transition.

"We're still waiting for example, the renewable energy market to come alive where you can trade those green certificates. So that's part of the Renewable Energy Law but it hasn't been implemented yet," AC Energy president and CEO John Eric Francia explained.

"Also, the reserve market where you can have an open and competitive bidding for ancillary services, that's not up yet. Again, that's part of the framework design of EPIRA," he added.

Since renewable energy must be complemented by ancillary plants to stabilize the power grid, Francia said these markets must be implemented.

For his part, Rivera emphasized that the DOE must implement an energy transition plan to phase out operational coal power plants before 2030.

The DOE will be working with the Department of Finance and the Energy Regulatory Commission in ensuring the proper mapping out and incorporation of the country's Energy Transition Mechanism, or ETM — a partnership with the Asian Development Bank hoping to speed up the nation's withdrawal from coal plants — into the Philippine Energy Plan.

The agency is also part of the country's United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) delegation, which has focused on holding developed nations to account for their promises concerning the fight against climate change, and the government's efforts to pivot towards a greener economy.