Two years after Republic Act 11285, or the Energy Efficiency and Conservation (EE&C) Act, was implemented, Philippine government agencies are still lagging in implementing energy efficiency projects.
The law requires all government agencies to ensure efficient use of energy in their offices, facilities and transportation units while local government units need to create EE&C plans.
Citing data provided by the Department of Energy to the World Bank, House Speaker Lord Allan Jay Velasco noted the cost of transforming lighting and air conditioning for national government buildings to become energy efficient is P13.2 billion. However, such projects can reduce consumption by 44 percent for lighting and 27 percent for air conditioning, the generated savings of P3.4 billion a year should be enough to pay for the projects.
“The actual challenge is how to encourage government agencies to become more energy efficient or how national government agencies can overcome initial apprehensions on partnerships with private energy service company (ESCOs),” Velasco said during the inaugural Energy Efficiency Day held last week.
While government agencies trail in implementing EE&C projects, the country has improved its position in the region in terms of becoming energy efficient. In the energy efficiency scorecard in the World Bank’s Regulatory Indicators for Sustainable Energy 2020 report, the Philippines ranked just above the global average of 48 and Southeast Asia’s average of 53. The RISE report measures policy progress in 138 countries on renewable energy, energy efficiency, electricity access, and access to clean cooking – the four target areas of Sustainable Development Goal 7.
Energy efficiency may be costly at the beginning but the benefits far outweigh the initial expense, especially if the impact of reduced energy consumption is considered on emissions and the environment. The private sector has already recognized the advantages of improving the energy efficiency of facilities and operations and if the government agencies that have been lagging behind finally catch up, energy bills can be reduced while the country can consume less fossil fuels for energy and, at the same time, produce less emissions and pollution.*