ENERGY CONSERVATION. PCOO Director Lawyer Tristan De Guzman (center) and Energy Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella answer questions from the media during a press conference after launch the "#EnerhiyangAtin" information drive at the SM City Cebu on Wednesday (May 18, 2022). Fuentebella said energy conservation will not only help address environmental concerns but also the impact of the global economic downturn brought by the pandemic and the crisis between Ukraine and Russia. (PNA photo by John Rey Saavedra)

CEBU CITY – An official of the Department of Energy (DOE) on Wednesday rallied the Cebuanos in an information campaign that aims to change the behavior of the consumers and businessmen toward energy conservation to help address the global economic downturn.

Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella of DOE said Republic Act (RA) 11285, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in 2019, is a comprehensive law that encompasses government responses not only on environmental issues but on the economy as well.

Although the law is anchored on the government’s environmental preservation, Fuentebella said the effort of educating the consumers and investors on the importance of investing in “green energy” will help them cope with the rising cost of doing business.

“The economics of this is very good for the country. The economics of this is very good for the environment as well because once we change our behavior, once we change the investor’s behavior to invest on energy efficiency, on renewable energy (RE), create workshops on energy security in the Philippines,” Fuentebella said in a press conference shortly after the launch of #EnerhiyangAtin information drive at the SM City Cebu here.

The information drive to educate the Cebuanos on the importance of energy conservation is a partnership between the DOE and the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) and supported by private stakeholders that are into energy-saving devices or vehicles.

Response to crisis

Fuentebella said energy conservation was the first response when the country was hit by the financial crisis as well as the oil price increases in 2008.

As businesses blame the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), Typhoon Odette, and the global impact of the current conflict between Ukraine and Russia, the rising cost of producing basic goods create an impact on the consumers.

“(With) these international events that affect our economy, energy efficiency is one of the first things that NEDA (National Economic and Development Authority) tells the Department of Energy,” he said.

Lawyer Tristan de Guzman, PCOO director, said in his speech, saving energy in homes will translate to lower utility bills and would mean more money to save and be spent on other important stuff.

“It is important to practice ways to become energy efficient because by reducing the energy amount required to do certain tasks, you help reduce air and water pollution due to certain energy generation and avoid negative impacts in our ecosystem,” de Guzman said.

Renewable energy developers

Fuentebella said the Philippines has enough RE professionals or developers.

He, however, said RE developers need more motivation to push forward government efforts in promoting non-conventional sources of power through the adoption of solar, wind, geothermal, and other sources of electricity.

Although the law was conceptualized several years back, Fuentebella said the Duterte administration was able to complete the mechanism.

“The past administration focused only on secured rate and net metering that allows consumers to produce their own electricity whether for household or for offices. But there is one more thing like what we are pushing now: it’s the green energy option. In this, if SM’s produced power would not be enough, SM has the option not to buy power produced through fuel, SM has the option to buy green energy,” he said.

He said the DOE is into the certification of RE professionals as a way to inventory developers of non-conventional energy sources.

Electric cars

Fuentebella also underscored RA 11697, the Electric Vehicle Industry Development Law, which provides for the development of electric vehicles to reduce the country’s reliance on imported fuel.

“The Philippine market is ready to embrace these types of vehicles and we are working hand-in-hand with various government agencies to promote them,” he said.

During the opening of the Interactive DOE Kiosks and other government services booth at the SM City Cebu, the electric-powered Nissan Leaf car owned by Councilor Nestor Archival was showcased.

“We are excited to be part of this event in raising consumer awareness on energy management and conservation. As Nissan’s biggest dealer partner in the country, we always strive to provide vehicles that go beyond mobility to provide cleaner, safer, and more sustainable products. As part of our commitment to this cause, we have the Nissan Leaf, a 100 percent electric vehicle, with zero-emission and intelligent technology that would give you a more secure and confident drive,” said Michael Goho, executive vice president of Gateway Motors Cebu.

Goho lauded the lawmakers for enacting RA 11697, citing it as “proof that the government’s electrification strategy is gaining momentum and we are one with them and the EV industry in taking this strategy to the next level”. (PNA)