Harnessing clean energy

In an interview with UPDate Online, UP Diliman (UPD) Chancellor Fidel R. Nemenzo said renewable energy is the key in making energy as affordable and accessible to as many people as possible.

“When we talk of renewable energy, nandito rin iyong issue ng energy democracy, energy access, making energy really as affordable and as accessible as possible,” Nemenzo said.

Nemenzo. Photo by Jefferson Villacruz, UPDIO

He added that renewable energy has an impact on people’s lives, not only in big industries but in small communities as well.

Nemenzo was interviewed at the 5th Renewable Energy Congress and Exhibit (RE Congress 2022), with the theme Making the Renewable Energy for ALL (REAL) Deal Happen, where he gave the welcome remarks.

He welcomed the confab participants to the UPD campus, which he described as one of the few green spots in the city and a constant reminder of the need to care for the environment.

Nemenzo stressed UPD’s support for the push for renewable energy.

“We want to take part in the search for innovative and bold ideas because of the urgency to address the climate change crisis,” he said.

Renewable or clean energy comes from natural sources such as biomass, hydropower, geothermal, wind, and solar energy.

According to the US Energy Information Administration, renewable energy is “energy from sources that are naturally replenishing but flow-limited; renewable resources are virtually inexhaustible in duration but limited in the amount of energy that is available per unit in time.”

Nemenzo also emphasized the importance of renewable energy to the country.

“Renewable energy is key to the development of our energy industry and the sustainable and equitable future that future generations of Filipinos deserve. This is certainly crucial not only for urban areas like Manila, Cebu, and Davao but also for the economic activity it can generate in off-grid communities scattered throughout our archipelago,” he said.

In a post on the CentRE’s Facebook page, panelist Franz-Michael S. Mellbin, ambassador of Denmark to the Philippines, was quoted as saying that the country has every opportunity to be the “next renewable energy success story.”

“It has the renewable energy options for a healthy and abundant future energy mix — geothermal, hydro, biomass, solar, on- and off-shore wind and waste-to-energy,” Mellbin said.

Meanwhile, Nemenzo said he is delighted that participants are taking the long view on restructuring power beyond EPIRA.

EPIRA is the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 or Republic Act No. 1936, “an act ordaining reforms in the electric power industry.”

Nemenzo also mentioned a paper of faculty members from the UPD College of Engineering (COE) Department of Chemical Engineering, about a transition pathway to sustainable energy systems.

“The paper studies a transition pathway to sustainable energy systems and declares that indigenous renewable resources in the Philippines can meet the demand from all energy sectors, and that 100-percent renewable energy is possible by the year 2050. This is really exciting, and only means that we need to increase investment in renewables, create a strong R&D ecosystem to develop technologies and put into place an enabling policy environment for renewable energy,” he said.

The COE’s Institute of Civil Engineering (ICE) hosted the RE Congress 2022, which was co-organized by the CentRE and the Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung Philippines on Oct. 12.

Nemenzo lauded the COE for its endeavor.

“I am happy to hear that the COE, through the leadership of Dean Tonette (Maria Antonia) Tanchuling, has been engaging with the Center for Empowerment, Innovation, and Training on Renewable Energy. We know that while the university is a place where knowledge is sought and where expertise is developed, it is in our communities where the real value of our work will be tested. Thank you for reminding us of this,” Nemenzo said.

Other institutions and organizations that co-organized the event were the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities CASE, Living Laudato Si, Greenpeace Philippines, The Climate Reality Project Philippines, WWF-Philippines Climate Tracker, and active RE advocates in the diplomatic community such as the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Royal Danish Embassy in Manila, and the Embassy of Kingdom of the Netherlands in Manila.

The RE Congress 2022 ended with a sealing of the “renewable energy for all (REAL) deal” as participants signed the REAL deal “mural.”

Participants signing the REAL deal “mural.” Photo by Jefferson Villacruz, UPDIO