At least 300 participants from the energy industry, academe, civil society organisations, youth, indigenous peoples and women across the country converged at the 6th Renewable Energy Congress that was held jointly with the 1st Mindanao Clean Energy Forum on 20 -21 November 2023 at Acacia Hotel in Davao City.
This first collaborative event co-organised by the Center for Empowerment, Innovation and Training on Renewable Energy, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Mindanao Development Authority, and MinREACH aimed to call the attention of government and various stakeholders on the need to accelerate the deployment and utilization of renewable energy in the country towards achieving affordable, reliable, and sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030.
In her opening remarks, Mindanao Development Authority Secretary Maria Belen Acosta stressed that Mindanao had set a goal of 50 per cent RE by 2030 years ago. Now, the RE share in Mindanao’s power generation mix is already more than 35 per cent which is the national RE target for 2030.
“Increasing RE to 35 per cent by 2030 is like a homecoming journey,” said Energy Regulatory Commission CEO and Chair Atty. Monalisa Dimalanta. She recalled that when the Renewable Energy Act was passed in 2008, RE’s share in the power mix was already 34 per cent.
“Renewable energy should be at the core of energy planning, which is happening now,” Dimalanta added. Higher RE share is achievable, but we must work together to realise this. Since the 1930s, renewable energy has been the bedrock of the energy industry.
Dimalanta congratulated the Mindanao Development Authority for the current high RE share in Mindanao. “The 50 per cent RE target is a very realistic ambition for Mindanao,” she highlighted.
As of October 2023, the share of renewable energy in Mindanao’s power generation mix is already at 39 per cent according to Atty. Richard Nethercott, CEO of Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP).
However, energy transition is not yet the case in the Philippines. Access to electricity remains a big concern in many parts of the country, especially Mindanao.
Charlie Ayco, president of CentRE stressed that the whole energy industry is changing. Power generation used to be site-specific. But because of technology, we can already have miniature power plants on our roofs through solar rooftops.
Ayco explained that we need to not just focus on huge power plants. What we need to do to ensure available and affordable electricity is how a household can generate their electricity because “the cheapest electricity is when you produce your own electricity.” Let us invert the structure in such a way that the consumers become producers of electricity. This is democratizing the energy industry.