THE Climate Change Commission (CCC) said the renewable energy sector is among the “biggest” opportunities for investment amid the global shift by companies seeking ways to pursue a greener energy strategy.

“There is no debate that coal is the most carbon-intensive of all fossil fuels. It brings serious public health, ecological, and economic risks,” CCC Secretary Emmanuel M. De Guzman was quoted as saying in a statement Monday. He was delivering a speech at the CEO Forum on Financing Government Energy Efficiency Projects held recently in Makati City.

The forum was attended by business leaders, government officials, and civil society, and was organized by the European Union-supported Access to Sustainable Energy Programme and the Department of Energy. The event hopes to facilitate discussions on key issues and challenges in implementing energy efficiency projects.

“Renewable energy now presents the biggest opportunity for local investment,” Mr. De Guzman added.

He noted that the energy sector has consistently accounted for a significant percentage of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and, as such, offers the highest mitigation opportunity for the country’s Nationally Determined Contribution to reduce by 70% its GHG emissions by 2030, as it committed under the Paris Agreement.

“Energy efficiency is the easiest and often cheapest way to reduce the need for expansion of power generation. And with the country’s energy demand projected to increase by 80% between 2017 and 2040, improving energy efficiency in the building sector would be our best course to reduce emissions,” Mr. De Guzman said.

Citing a report released by the International Renewable Energy Agency, Mr. De Guzman said that the decade-long trend of strong growth in renewable energy capacity continued in 2018.

“As total global renewable energy generation capacity reached 2,351 gigawatts at the end of last year, renewable energy now accounts for a third of global power capacity[1],” he noted.

He added that renewable energy can provide a major share of the Philippine electricity mix in a stable and reliable manner and at the same time increase energy self-sufficiency and reduce supply-related risks.

The CCC is the lead policy-making body of the government in coordinating, monitoring and evaluating government programs and ensuring mainstreaming of climate change in national, local, and sectoral development plans towards a climate-resilient and climate-smart Philippines. — Janina C. Lim