Gatchalian hikes proposed DOE 2021 budget for “energy transition”

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The Department of Energy’s (DOE) proposed budget for 2021 was raised by Php46 million to fund studies that would harness the potential of emerging energy sources that aim to lower the cost of electricity in the country.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian added Php20 million for energy transition research, another Php20 million for a comprehensive roadmap for electric vehicles (EVs), and Php6 million for prospects of energy generation via waste-to-energy (WTE) facilities.

Gatchalian, the principal author and sponsor of Senate Bill 1382 or the proposed Electric Vehicles and Charging Stations Bill, said his move to allocate funds to study the drafting of a comprehensive roadmap for EVs is in line with the DOE’s mandate.

“The EVs have the potential to reduce the country’s oil import dependence and greenhouse gas emissions arising from transport. As such, it is crucial to equip DOE with the resources to prepare a comprehensive program for the roll-out of electric vehicles in the country,” the chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy said in a statement.

The EV transition, in particular, had already been part of the Philippines’ energy agenda for roughly a decade. However, the Philippines is just starting to shift as compared to its Asian neighbors.

Most of the country’s major power industry players have also pushed for more renewable energy installations domestically. But while this may be a welcome development, land conversion and grid integration issues have yet to be tackled by energy stakeholders, both in the public and private sectors.

Gatchalian, who is also the author of Senate Bill 1789 or the WTE Bill, added that the existence of WTE facilities can significantly contribute in solving the country’s garbage problem, while potentially contributing to the country’s energy security by having these connected to the country’s power grids.

“The WTE remains a largely untapped local energy resource. Allocating a budget for DOE to assess the potential of WTE in the country would be the first step in maximizing this local indigenous energy resource,” the senator said.

“With the exponential decrease in the price of renewable energy and battery storage and 10 more years before our 2030 Paris Agreement commitments, it is paramount for the DOE to start studying scenarios on how to achieve a holistic energy transition in the Philippines towards a decentralized, digitalized and decarbonized energy system without sacrificing energy security and affordability,” Gatchalian explained further.

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