A proposed legislative measure is pushing for a public-private partnership (PPP) investment model that shall be carried out in the development of waste-to-energy (WTE) facilities in the country.
Senate Committee on Energy Chairman Sherwin T. Gatchalian stated that Senate Bill 1789 or the proposed Waste-to-Energy Act is under deliberations in Congress. It will provide the regulatory framework on how local government units (LGUs) can enter into PPP arrangements for the targeted WTE ventures.
The proposed policy, once enacted into law, will give LGUs “more confidence to explore possible public-private partnerships and other allowed contractual arrangements with potential WTE investors this early.”
Gatchalian emphasized that the added policy support to WTE investments is the recent issuance of a Circular by the Department of Energy (DOE), which is also enticing capital flow into the sector.
“The development of WTE technology should send a signal to local government units to begin entertaining investors and explore the feasibility of having WTE facilities in their localities,” he stressed.
As classified, waste-to-energy facilities are in the genre of renewable energy (RE) technologies, and this involves the process of converting wastes into fuel that will then be used for electricity generation.
In the experience of other power markets, however, WTE facilities that were poorly implemented were found to have been causing serious public health risks such as on the emission of toxins that could cause cancer and other serious illnesses; and their methane emissions could also trigger further peril on the environment.
Gatchalian explained though that the pending bill targets to “lay down the national regulatory framework for facilities utilizing WTE technologies to ensure strict safeguards for public health and the environment; and unnecessary power rate increases for consumers.”
By far, it is seen that the ideal tie-up for WTE projects will be between the investors and the LGUs because waste management mandates are within the scope of the local governments’ supervision and authority.
Gatchalian opined that “the adoption of WTE technology is a means to address garbage disposal and as another kind of RE source in the country which is seen to gain traction and attract investor-interest to put up facilities in the country.”
He qualified that WTE installations could be aligned as parallel solution to “the perennial garbage crisis that has now been aggravated by the accumulation of medical wastes due to the Covid-19 pandemic.”
In the lawmaker’s assessment, “the construction of WTE plants would not only minimize the alarming volume of residual waste piling up in landfills and illegal dumps across the country, but also contributes to energy security through WTE power plants.”
He underscored that the WTE projects will be “at no cost to the government because it will be the project proponent, and not the LGUs, who will shoulder the expenses in the construction and operation of the facility.”