Philippines sees Germany as model in shift to renewable energy

Climate Change Commission (CCC) Secretary Emmanuel De Guzman said the Philippines can draw an inspiration from Germany in energy efficiency and use of renewable energy, as the country looks for alternative sources of electricity to create climate-resilient communities.

De Guzman, along with CCC Commissioner Frances Veronica Victorio, met on June 28 with German parliamentarian Bärbel Höhn, chair of the Committee on the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety of the German jr, who shared her country’s gains in the switch from coal and nuclear power towards renewables.

They were joined by German Embassy Charge d’Affaires Michael Hasper and some members of the academe and environmentalists in a luncheon meeting in Casa Roces at the Malacañang compound in Manila.

“We are looking at the German experience as one of our models in our journey towards a low-emission and climate-resilient future for our country,” said De Guzman, vice chairperson of the CCC, after the meeting.

’Energiewende’ or energy transition in German has been a phenomenon as shown by renewables making significant strides in the German energy sector, which was once heavily dependent on coal,” he added.

Coming from North Rhine-Westphalia, which is known for its coal industry, Höhn was an environmental activist before she became State Minister for Environment and Agriculture in North Rhine-Westphalia. 

Affiliated with the Green Party’s parliamentary group, Höhn has made the promotion of energy efficiency and renewable sources of energy as her advocacy.

Höhn said coal firms in Germany have been “losing money for investing in the wrong technology” after renewables have become the most important source of energy in Germany.

As of last year, the renewables’ share in the energy mix in Germany was reportedly at 28 percent, way above the expectations of advocates.

In July last year, Germany hit a new milestone in its campaign for carbon-free electricity when renewable energy sources met 78 percent of the day’s energy demand.

De Guzman said the Philippines could learn from Germany’s experience as the government reviews its energy policy to pave the way for a comprehensive transition to renewable and sustainable energy.

“The policy review allows knowledge exchange on existing good practices in managing transitions from fossil fuel-based energy to renewable energy,” he added.

The CCC, together with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Department of Energy and the National Economic Development Authority, has six months or until the end of the year to conduct a national review and framework development on energy, as mandated by Commission Resolution No.2016-001 it issued last month.

The policy review is vital to fulfilling the country’s commitments under the Paris climate agreement to keep global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius and avoid the worst impacts of climate change. PND (ka)