"The role of local initiative in making renewable energy work is very important," said Johannes Kadura, resident representative of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) in the Philippines.
"Local government units and community-based organizations, because of their direct link to the people, have the best capacity of bringing the benefits of electricity to their own constituents."
He was speaking on October 12 at a renewable energy forum held in the context of the 2017 Galing Pook Awards, which annually honour local government initiatives from across the Philippines.
The forum, hosted by FES and young engineers from the Renewable Energy Boot Camp (REBOOT), brought together LGU leaders, industry experts and climate advocates.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian gave the keynote message and shared his experience from a study visit in Germany, where their Energiewende or energy transition program has given citizens an environment-friendly and affordable source of power.
As the chairman of the Senate Energy Committee, Gatchalian called for the Philippines to follow the steps of Germany’s energy shift to empower families in local communities.
"Renewable energy gives Filipino families the power to choose," he said. "Our communities have so much untapped potential to shift to cheaper, cleaner sources of power."
LGUs from Roxas town, Palawan, San Luis town, Aurora and San Carlos City, Negros Occidental shared their experiences of implementing renewable energy projects. San Luis Mayor Mariano “Nano” Tangson spoke about the town’s experience in running a 768-kilowatt mini-hydropower plant. The project was cited by the Galing Pook Awards as one of the Top 10 LGU programs of 2017.
Industry experts provided the LGU leaders with orientation regarding the vast opportunities to shift to renewable energy. Tetchi Cruz-Capellan, chief executive of the Philippine Solar Power Alliance, talked about the inevitable rise of renewable energy and encouraged LGUs to invest heavily on shifting to clean energy for low-cost, low-carbon power sources.
Young engineers and climate advocates also presented different projects and programs that local governments could implement in their own cities and towns. They presented several renewable energy projects already running in local communities:
The forum ended with an open discussion with the panel of experts. As the LGU leaders gear up for promoting excellent programs in their governments, the prospect of democratizing energy for Filipino families burns brighter. ###
For more information on the work by FES in the Philippines, contact resident representative Johannes Kadura.
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