Central Visayas to transition to ‘Low Carbon Economy’

Central Visayas to transition to ‘Low Carbon Economy’

TO PROTECT its status as a vital economic hub and social center in the country, Central Visayas will accelerate its transition to a “Low Carbon Economy” with a five-year plan that combines the use of legislation and incentives to encourage the use of renewable energy to help prevent or combat the worsening effects of climate change.

Its approach to energy transition includes harnessing the potentials of renewable energy sources, in particular through the use of solar power panels, empowering industries and individuals via incentives in the wider adoption of net metering, implementing the Green Energy Option Program and the Green Building Code, and curbing emissions from the transport sector through the use of electric vehicles.

Intended to combat the growing negative effects of climate change on the Central Visayas ecosystem, these policies are stipulated in the Central Visayas Regional Development Plan (CVRDP) 2023-2028 formulated by the Central Visayas Regional Development Council (RDC).

The RDC, which launched the plan in Cebu City on Aug. 8, 2023, said it was imperative for the council to accelerate climate action and strengthen disaster resilience as the region was considered vulnerable to the adverse effects of natural hazards that were worsened by climate change.

Changing the energy landscape of the region was the solution that the council advocated to the rest of the policy makers down to the local government units (LGU) and the private sector to forge a sustainable future.

Coal-burning still dominated the power generation industry in Central Visayas in 2021, followed by renewable energy and oil-based sources, according to the CVRDP.

For renewable energy, the region is already using geothermal, solar, biomass and water sources. So the

CVRDP wants to maximize its potential by encouraging more investment in the infrastructure for this.

Prohibition

The CVRDP 2023-2028 also recognizes the impact of legislative measures to promote renewable energy.

These include Provincial Ordinance 2018-005 of the Province of Bohol prohibiting the construction of any coal power plant in the province and officially recognizing renewable energy as the more sustainable and reliable source of energy.

Negros Oriental, through Provincial Ordinance 30, has also enacted the Philippines’ first local Renewable Energy Code, “which among others, prohibited the construction of all fossil fuel power plants in the province, and committed to phase out the use of fossil fuels in a timeline compatible with the ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement to limit temperature increase below 1.5 degrees Celsius.”

The Province of Cebu also passed Ordinance 2018-08 promoting low carbon development in the entire province.

“The region can leverage on the existing policy environment that favorably prepares the region for energy transition through its preference to develop and promote the use of renewable energy,” CVRDP 2023-2028 said.

“Building on the successes of current renewable energy investments in the region, concerned LGUs can provide incentives to attract additional renewable energy investments from the private sector,” it added.

The LGUs have to “actively” seek investors to develop renewable energy sources in their respective jurisdictions.

Choose supplier

The plan also seeks the implementation of the Green Energy Option Program initiative of the government through the Department of Energy that allows consumers to choose to source renewable energy from a licensed supplier as opposed to consuming whatever is supplied by their distribution utility.

“Providing this option to consumers in Central Visayas will incentivize power producers to provide renewable energy and the consumers to utilize renewable energy to meet the electricity demands,” it said.

Generate your power

Firms and households have also resorted to generating power to satisfy their electricity demand themselves, the CVRDP 2023-2028 said.

Establishments and residential units have installed solar photovoltaic (PV) panels to generate power for their own needs, contributing to the reduction of carbon emissions.

In the net metering scheme under the Renewable Energy Act of 2008, companies and households that generate more power than they need can sell excess power generated to the local grid to offset their electricity consumption.

Net metering is the first non-fiscal incentive mechanism fully implemented under the Renewable Energy Act of 2008 that represents “the first step of a paradigm shift from the traditional generation-transmission-distribution scheme towards individual- and community-based distributed on-site power generation,” the Department of Energy said in its website.

Under the accelerated climate action plan, “the region shall promote the development of ‘prosumers’ among the LGUs, firms and households by encouraging the use of solar PV (panels) to generate their own electricity” and deliver excess power to the grid.

A “prosumer” refers to a producer and consumer of electricity at the same time.

The CVRDP also envisions the adoption of a policy in Central Visayas mandating the installation of solar PV panels on rooftops of all government offices, which can be funded through concessional loans and grants to incentivize LGUs.

Green Building

The CVRDP 2023-2028 encourages LGUs, particularly the highly urbanized cities and component cities, to provide incentives to builders of buildings covered under the Green Building certification programs.

On March 31, 2023, the Mandaue City Council approved the amendments on the “Green Building Ordinance of 2015” giving tax incentives to those who construct buildings that contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and minimizing the impact of buildings on health and the environment.

Under the ordinance, a voluntarily certified green building may apply for the incentive within three years from receiving its BERDE certification provided that the project owner does not have tax delinquencies, has the appropriate permits, aside from the existing tax credit they could avail themselves of which is not more than 15 percent of the total amount of real property tax due on the building for the same taxable year.

BERDE refers to the Building for Ecologically Responsive Design Excellence Rating Certification System of the Philippine Green Building Council.

The province of Cebu has also mandated the use of the BERDE for government-owned and -operated projects.

The implementation of the green building code will spearhead changes in architecture and construction practices in the region that prioritize eco-friendly designs and energy-efficient structures.

Electric transport

The CVRDP 2023-2028 also envisions that the region will continue pushing for the modernization of the jeepneys, the implementation of the Bus Rapid Transit and other modes of mass transit, and promote the wider use of non-motorized transport, while it also seeks the introduction and development of electrified transportation.

“For the transport sector, electrification entails the replacement of fossil fuels with electricity as the means of powering light-duty vehicles, medium- and heavy-duty trucks, and buses,” it said.

The primary goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change on the planet.

“Electrification of transportation will also require investments in putting up charging stations for e-vehicles. Government financial support will be provided to local electric utilities to upgrade capacity for them to accommodate charging of e-vehicles,” it added.

Trending

No stories found.

Just in

No stories found.

Branded Content

No stories found.
SunStar Publishing Inc.
www.sunstar.com.ph