RE’s game-change: GEOP customers take a stand for the environment

Published April 8, 2022, 9:00 AM

by Myrna M. Velasco

Eligible businesses and institutions may now take concrete steps to lower their carbon emissions by getting power from licensed Green Energy Option Program suppliers like EDC’s Green Core Geothermal, Inc.

There is a ‘deepening revolution’ happening in the energy sector – it’s not just a transformative juncture of clean energy technology deployments, but it is a ‘revolution of mindset and lifestyles’ of consumers who are now taking bold steps for the environment and are opting to be in commune with the world to prevent the devastating impacts of global warming.

The policy anchor instituted by the government, via the prescription of the Renewable Energy Act of 2008, is the Green Energy Option Program (GEOP) which provides locus to consumers as ultimate decision-makers — not just on their preferred rates but on patronizing renewable energy (RE) as the source of their power supply.

Today, many companies from high carbon-emitting industries such as cement, steel and other manufacturing facilities are already shifting to green energy solutions and have made pledges to net-zero carbon emissions goal by mid-century – and that goes the same way across other businesses and supply chains – including those for utilities, banks, hotels and tourism facilities, condominiums, office buildings and even academic institutions.

Beyond switching from traditional models of contracting power supply, even the country’s power generation companies are now breaking away from investments on conventional thermal power facilities and started injecting more capital into RE installations – primarily for geothermal, biomass, hydro, solar and wind farms.

Power of choice – taking a stand for the environment

Under the GEOP policy, end-users within the consumption bandwidth of 100 kilowatts (kW) and up can now directly negotiate and sign power supply agreements (PSAs) that will deliver RE-generated electricity supply to their businesses and homes.

According to Gideon Adriel Butalid, head of Market Planning and Contracts of RE-firm leader Energy Development Corporation (EDC), “qualified power customers now have the power of choice for their source and provider of electricity that will have a huge impact not only on their business or institution but also on our planet and society.”

He expounded that these electricity end-users “now have the ability to personally take a stand for the environment, to reduce their carbon footprint as their contribution to fighting climate change.”

The EDC executive further enthused that many corporate-customers likewise opt for RE to boost their brand and reputation, primarily as “a model not only for sustainability but for the next best practice of regenerative development by simply choosing where to buy electricity.”

For Lopez-led EDC, in particular, it is not just reinforcing its stature as a leading player in the RE sector, but it walks the talk in holding a torch when it comes to convincing consumers to get into ‘green energy pathway’ in meeting their electricity needs – and its customers are already attesting to the benefits they’ve gained from patronizing RE, primarily geothermal power, as their electricity service provider.

Bernard B. Chioson, chief operating officer of Chioson Development Corporation, conveyed that their company “has chosen to source power supply from geothermal energy to further reduce (our) own carbon footprint. With this investment towards clean energy, we can leave a lasting impact for future generations.”

He asserted “we want to have a sustainable and reliable renewable energy supplier to push our advocacy for producing rebar, nails and pipes in a clean and sustainable way.”

For Carl Benedick C. Chung, senior vice president of Breeder Group, he similarly stated that “switching to renewable not only helps create a greener future, it also realizes the ambition of a developed and self-sustainable Philippines,” stressing that “we believe that our country is rich in its own natural resources, which should be used for the benefit of our kapwa Filipinos.”

Telecom giant Globe is also joining the bandwagon of ‘green energy champions’, and company president and CEO Ernest L. Cu highlighted that “Globe greatly values sustainability and so we are looking for a partner with the same passion for the environment,” with him adding that “we look forward to creating a lasting impact with EDC and all other partners in this endeavor.”

Butalid further emphasized that in their suite of ‘green energy offers’, the end-users they typically corner are “like-minded customers with a green mandate who prefer 100% RE supply; and these customers have carbon reduction targets.”

Future-proofing environmental risks

Safety remains EDC’s top priority as its employees expertly run its 100% RE power plants.

When it comes to noble goals for the environment and in achieving realistic targets toward decarbonization, EDC is unbeatable in initiating many sustainability goalposts – not only for the gold stamp that it has for being the only 100% RE company in the Philippines, but it is also a ‘first mover’ in the energy sector in its offer of ASEAN green bonds for its fund-raising activities, a move that was proactively supported by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

By a great deal, Butalid indicated “it’s the businesses that see future-proofing and have done environmental risk assessments that realize the urgent need to shift to renewable energy GEOP.”

He added “doing so has become a ‘must’ – not only because it’s their corporate responsibility, but also because the worsening effects of climate change subsequently affects their operations.”

Butalid of course specified that “a definite plus is the lower electricity cost based on what our customers who have stayed with us have been saying.”

EDC said in its offer of ‘green energy contracts’ to end-users, its services don’t just stop with the signing of PSAs, but it is similarly helping customers to “compute the amount of carbon emissions that they are able to avoid each month as a result of using renewable energy.”

He stressed that “while there is still no mandate that requires companies to shift to RE for their ESG (environmental, social and governance) compliance, it’s really their sense of corporate responsibility and commitment to lower their carbon footprints that make them choose RE.”

All things considered, Butalid reckoned that “being a power supplier is not enough. We also look out for the community and we make it our mission to take care of the environment. Going beyond sustainability, we want to share our ways on how to be regenerative – this is the value we provide to our customers.”

Intensifying trend for clean energy financing

Experts and climate scientists estimated that the world will need over S105 trillion in capital mobilization for the world to see the light of day on desired decarbonization pathways, and it’s the keen commitment of private sector captains that’s being counted on when it comes to pulling off audacious hopes for the environment.

It is envisioned that financial reallocation to ‘green solutions’ will not only require transformation in business approaches, rather, these could engender the birth and rise of new enterprises, such as on the sphere of digitalization and broader investments on RE facilities as well as electric vehicles; that in turn could create ‘green jobs’ and opportunities for many people.

That’s not to say however that there are no risks to grapple with in re-shaping industries; hence, that’s the very reason why government policy interventions are needed to guarantee that the transition will end up viable across the economic spectrum of each country.

For business leaders, there is that continuing risks’ re-assessment and analysis if the switch on technology utilization and overall metamorphosis of business models will eventually come together with the climate-aligned policies enforced by governments.

Butalid noted “there is an increasing trend for RE/ clean energy financing, given the ESG mandates of investors.” By far, taking the front-lines on these are investment funds, banks and multilateral funding agencies; and these are often underpinned by increasing push from policymakers and regulators.

For the Philippine energy market though, the EDC executive admitted that challenges remain – primarily on the sphere of securing project permits; as well as on “opening up more available funding schemes” for RE developers; ramping up enforcement of incentives to make RE investments more commercially viable; and the long-awaited commercial operations of the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) in Mindanao that would incentivize capital flow for green energy investments in that domain.

Suffice it to say that in concretizing decarbonization roadmaps, the core components that shall be comprehensively enforced shall be realignment of capital spending, so companies and industries can radically tame their carbon footprints; and for government to consistently and predictably enforce policies to support long-term green energy investments.

 
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