THE Department of Energy (DoE) said the broader adoption of energy-efficient practices needs to come before any major shift to renewable energy.

“We’ve seen countries, provided that the natural resources are there, (that) can go 100% renewable,” Director of the Energy Utilization Management Bureau Patrick T. Aquino said at the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Summit, organized by Meralco Power Academy.

“For us to be at a 100% renewable energy, we also have to be more energy-efficient in how we use our energy. Renewable energy addresses the supply considerations but if we are inefficient in how we use our energy resources, then we’ll never reach 100% renewable energy,” he said.

His keynote address was meant as an update on developments in the implementation of Republic Act No. 11285, or the Energy Efficiency and Conservation (EEC) Act.

On March 2, Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi said energy security and independence for the Philippines will ultimately depend on a successful campaign to promote energy efficiency and conservation.

Mr. Aquino noted that households have yet to fully embrace the use of light-emitting diode (LED)-based lighting because of the cost, or inverter cooling systems that have the potential to “cut down on costs and consumption by as much as 30% to 40%.”

Asked to comment on Mr. Aquino’s remarks, Philippine Energy Efficiency Alliance President Alexander D. Ablaza said energy efficiency should be a major pillar for end-users’ clean energy transition.

“Implementing energy efficiency delivers the same, if not more cost-effective and more immediate, decarbonization and energy security impacts as the economy moves toward a net-zero energy pathway,” he said in a Viber message.

Separately, Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian called for stricter adherence to energy efficiency and conservation measures by government agencies on account of the projected tight power supply seen in the Luzon and Visayas grids during the dry season.

Mr. Gatchalian chairs the Senate’s energy committee.

In a resolution issued this year by the Inter-Agency Energy Efficiency and Conservation Committee (IAEECC), all government entities, including local government units, have been directed to comply with the Government Energy Management Program (GEMP) guidelines.

GEMP aims to reduce monthly GE electricity and fuel consumption by at least 10%, starting with efficiencies in air-conditioning thermostat settings and carpooling.

“We want to institutionalize energy efficiency and conservation as a national way of life to secure sufficiency and stability of energy supply in the country and to help cushion the impact of high prices of imported fuels. It will also be beneficial to the environment and our finances,” Mr. Gatchalian said.

Mr. Gatchalian added that the government “should take the lead” in the pursuit of greater energy conservation to encourage the public to follow suit.

A resolution by the IAEECC issued in 2020 required the designation of an energy efficiency and conservation officer (EEC officer) in 7,441 government offices. To date, only 24% have complied. — Ram Christian S. Agustin