Philippines Government Boosts Opportunity for Renewable Energy Investments

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George Douglas, 303-275-4096
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Golden, Colo., Apr. 21, 2000 - Philippines Energy Secretary Mario Tiaoqui recently changed energy regulations to catalyze renewable energy market development in the Philippines. These changes aim to use renewable energy to enhance economic growth and alleviate poverty, while reducing oil imports and protecting the environment.

The changes were based on a set of recommendations developed with help from the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) through its Philippines Renewable Energy Project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development at Manila, and the interagency Technology Cooperation Agreement Pilot Project of USAID, USDOE, and USEPA to promote clean energy markets in developing economies.

According to Secretary Tiaoqui, the government looks forward to " accelerated implementation of our rural electrification program through the use of cleaner and more environmentally friendly renewable energy."

In the past, many private companies refrained from pursuing renewable energy projects in the country because of the costs imposed by existing regulations—the same regulations that applied to fossil fuel plants. The new policy changes eliminate many prohibitive regulations and make renewable energy more attractive to the private investment and international donor communities.

Policy revisions include eliminating certain requirements for providing back-up reserves by operators of renewable resource facilities, removing obstacles to biomass cogeneration facilities, and streamlining approvals processes for small hydroelectric facilities. The recommendations were developed in consultation with the private sector and Preferred Energy Incorporated. "The changes are a significant step in making it easier for the private sector to invest in clean, renewable energy systems in the Philippines," said Paul Galen, an NREL senior policy analyst. "The rapid implementation of these changes by the Philippines Department of Energy is a good indication of their commitment to renewable energy development."

A mountainous country made up of more than 7,000 islands, the Philippines is an excellent candidate for using renewable energy systems that tap energy from the sun, wind and moving water. "Renewable energy in the Philippines is often more cost-effective than extending the electric grid," Galen said. "The Philippines government is looking at renewable energy to provide the electric service critical to economic growth and to help alleviate poverty in areas of the country now without electricity."

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