Push for more renewables

E CARTOON MAY 23, 2023.jpg

It doesn’t take a scientist to know that we are living in challenging times brought forth by the change in our climate patterns and depleting finite resources. This is the reason why the terms “sustainability,” “renewables,” “circular economy” have gained prominence not only among forward-looking companies but also among decision makers in our government.

While the push for renewable energy is not new, recent years have witnessed a significant surge due to rising fossil fuel costs, partly due to geopolitical events, and especially with the escalating demand from industries and businesses that consume tremendous energy. The increasing demand, coupled with limited energy supply, is a formula for disaster.

With renewables, energy is derived from infinite resources given the right conditions, for example, such as sunlight, the flow of wind and water, etc. The United Nations (UN), in fact, is clear about this — that renewable energy can address the challenges of climate change, since fossil fuels, when burned to produce energy, can “release harmful greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon dioxide.”

For the UN, it defined renewable energy as “energy derived from natural sources that are replenished at a higher rate than they are consumed,” and its sources are “plentiful and all around us.” Additionally, renewables are now “cheaper in most countries” and can “generate three times more jobs than fossil fuels.”

The push for renewables in our country is not falling on deaf ears as the Philippines’ top CEO — our President — has acknowledged the need for renewable energy. This he reiterated when he attended the presentation of a 160-megawatt wind farm in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte.

“I am here because it is important to highlight the importance of our shift from fossil fuels to renewables. This is very important and a large part of that shift that we are trying to implement in our energy mix,” said the President, noting that Ilocos Norte is “blessed” to have windmills that generate electricity to the residents. In a statement, the Pagudpud wind farm claimed that it could “help power 123,865 homes” and avoid “approximately 344,600 metric tons of carbon emissions.”

It should be noted that the President, during his time as Ilocos Norte governor, championed the establishment of the country’s first commercial wind farm in Bangui — also Southeast Asia’s first of its kind.
“Let us continue to keep the province as the pioneer for renewables. We are leading the way for the whole country,” the President said. “The time will hopefully come soon that we can say that (we have shifted) our energy mix in favor of renewables.”

According to the UN, the science is clear — “to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, emissions need to be reduced by almost half by 2030 and reach net-zero by 2050.”  To achieve this, the world needs to end its reliance on fossil fuels and invest in alternative sources of energy that are “clean, affordable, accessible, sustainable, and reliable.”

To illustrate the urgency of this shift, we have to recognize that the Philippines is one of the most climate-vulnerable countries in the world. We are exposed to the worst effects of the climate crisis, and if nothing will be done today to avert this, then expect heat to be mightier, for floods to be higher, and typhoons to be stronger.  We will not have this bleak future if we act decisively on renewables today.