Energy efficiency a new infrastructure asset: PE2

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    By JED MACAPAGAL

    The Philippine Energy Efficiency Alliance (PE2) is urging the government to classify energy efficiency (EE) as a new infrastructure asset class incorporated in the country’s energy mix.

    Alexander Ablaza, PE2 president, said private capital can be mobilized for initial investments in government-led EE projects so as not to burden taxpayers via build-operate-transfer-scheme or joint ventures.

    But Ablaza said barriers such as procurement, budgeting and multi-year contracting should be addressed to attract investors.

    “Our position is we need more private capital in energy efficiency projects implemented in the public sector so that we will not encumber taxpayers as private capital can be mobilized instead of sourcing it from the General Appropriations Act,” he said.

    Ablaza expressed optimism the implementing rules and regulations of the recently passed Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act will assure benefits intended to promote and encourage EE projects will be realized.

    “…We don’t want a repeat of what happened with fiscal incentives in the Renewable Energy (RE) Law. There were RE developers holding BOI (Board of Investments) certificates which weren’t able to optimize the fiscal incentives… You are holding a BOI certificate but how sure are you sure that all RDOs (revenue district offices) of BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue) will recognize the income tax holiday and duty free importation?” he noted.

    PE2 said release of the IRR of the EE Law is so far on schedule for release within the year.

    Public consultations will be held in Davao, Cebu and Manila to specify measures in avoiding a similar problem with that of the RE Law.

    The law will help in absorbing spikes in electricity and oil prices as it can defer new capital expenditure requirements for energy infrastructure capacity upgrades from generation, transmission and distribution apart from reducing dependence on imported fuel.

    PE2 said if the Philippines would only invest in a $243 billion to achieve what is intended for the EE roadmap through 2040, the country would benefit from savings of as much as $726 billion; deference of as 45,900 megawatts worth of new power plants. The investment will also reduce carbon emissions and clip the rise in power prices.