House approves renewable energy bill

By Sammy Martin, Reporter

IT took almost two decades for lawmakers to pass on third and final reading a measure to develop renewable energy sources for the country’s energy needs, which is expected to generate some $1.2 billion in energy savings and economic benefits for Filipinos in the next 10 years.

The President’s son, Rep. Mikey Arroyo of Pampanga, and Rep. Luis Villafuerte of Camarines Sur successfully mustered the numbers to have House Bill 4193, otherwise known as Development, Utilization and Commercialization of Renewable Energy Resources of 2008, to be passed on third and final reading. HB 4193 was supported by administration and minority lawmakers.

The measure was first filed during the 8th Congress when Corazon Aquino was president.

No less than 16 renewable energy measures and resolutions were filed and referred to the Committee on Energy, of which 14 were House bills. The committee began hearings on these last November, and reported out the final measure on May 28.

Speaker Prospero Nograles expressed hope the Senate would swiftly pass its counterpart measure. If the renewable energy bill will be signed into a law, it will accelerate the development of renewable energy sources already found in the country like biomass, solar, wind, hydro, ocean energy or wave power, and geothermal.

Besides providing fiscal and financial incentives to encourage investors to go into renewable energy development, the measure also directs the Department of Energy, the National Power Corp. and other government agencies to develop and institute a framework for propagating renewable energy, and to seamlessly interconnect these energy sources into the national power grid.

“I humbly ask for your support in approving the renewable energy resources bill—the bill that will reduce our dependence on imported petroleum products,” said Representative Arroyo in his sponsorship speech.

Currently, the country relies on imported fuels like crude oil derivatives and coal for 48 percent of its power needs. The remaining 52 percent are sourced from indigenous sources like local crude oil, biomass, hydropower, and geothermal energy.(ManilaTimes)

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