THE transition to renewable energy requires the involvement of every segment of society with greater public engagement possibly encouraged by the government’s recent ban on new coal-fired power plants, the head of a government board overseeing renewables said.

The Department of Energy (DoE) freeze on new coal projects sets the stage for “all hands on deck” to participate in the promotion of renewables, according to Monalisa C. Dimalanta, who chairs the National Renewable Energy Board.   

“One of the recommendations….that we are proposing to the DoE is the setting of (specific) targets….that’s the work that really needs to be done. It’s not something that one sector or group can just decide on. It needs a whole of government, whole-of-society approach,” she said during an online forum organized by BusinessWorld, “What’s Next for Renewable Energy?,” a conference in the BusinessWorld Insights series.

The target for the Philippines is a 35% share for renewables in its power supply mix.

Ms. Dimalanta said banks, which finance energy projects, will play a role in promoting renewables.

Angela C. Ibay, the Climate and Energy Programme Head of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Philippines Climate and Energy Programme, said local government units need to play an active role in planning for their energy needs.

“Local governments plan for their (constituents’) development. They know what they want from their constituents but they never really understand the power requirements or the energy requirements to fuel the development that they want,” Ms. Ibay said.

At the forum, Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate Committee on Energy, said major coal-fired plants on Luzon are experiencing difficulties because of the volatility of demand and prices in April and May. He said demand fluctuations have exposed the inflexibility of plants powered by fossil fuels.

Energy Development Corp. President and Chief Operating Officer Richard B. Tantoco said the prospects for renewables in the Philippines are bright.

“Our country is in a good spot to develop renewable energy. With the right support and some policy shifts, I am confident that we can be one one the top RE generating countries on earth,” Mr. Tantoco said. — Angelica Y. Yang