President Signs Law Promoting Renewable Energy

Article excerpt

With the aim of reaching 60 percent energy self-sufficiency by 2010, President Arroyo yesterday signed into law the Renewable Energy Act of 2008 that seeks to hasten the development and use of "green" energy sources in the country.

Republic Act 9513, officially known as An Act Promoting the Development, Utilization and Commercialization of Renewable Energy Resources, provides fiscal and non-fiscal incentives such as income tax holidays and tax exemptions to encourage the use and production of energy from solar, wind, geothermal, and other renewable sources.

At the signing ceremony in Malacanang before several lawmakers and environmentalists, the President hailed the new legislation as a step towards energy independence and a triumph for the protection of the environment.

Mrs. Arroyo thanked the two houses of Congress for providing a "wonderful gift" to the Filipinos, saying the renewable energy law provides the nation "another great milestone in our aspiration for energy independence."a[logical not]

The law, which provides a legal and institutional framework for the development and use of renewable energy, will take effect 15 days after publication in two national newspapers.

The President signed the new legislation a few hours after arriving from a three-day visit to Qatar.

She said the renewable energy law would complement the Biofuels Act signed last January in lessening dependence on expensive imported oil especially since the country is well endowed with renewable sources of energy.

"From 45 percent before our administration, we have become 57 percent self-sufficient in energy and we aim to reach 60 percent by 2010," she said in her remarks.

"We are the second largest geothermal power producer in the world, with the highest wind potential power in the world. We also have high solar power penetration and abundant hydropower and biomass resources and now with our Renewable Energy Act, we can move aggressively to develop these resources," she added.

The Philippines could now take advantage of the "big leaps" in renewable energy development across the world, according to the President.

When renewable energy reached a milestone $71 billion in investments last year, she said even oil-rich countries in the Middle East established a special renewable energy corporation.

"So our renewable energy act will enable us to capture a part of this investment inflow through tax holidays, tax credits and other incentives for companies engaged in renewable energy development and distribution," she said.

Apart from helping achieve energy independence, the President added that the Renewable Energy (RE) law is "timely because it mitigates climate change."

"All of these efforts are working to improve the overall quality of life of the Filipino people," she said.

The new law includes the Renewable Portfolio Standard which mandates energy suppliers to source a minimum percentage of their annual energy demand from RE-based sources. It also provides for a feed-in-tariff mechanism that sets a fixed price for electricity sourced from renewable energy for 12 years.

The law allows for a Green Energy option that allows power consumers to choose renewable sources of energy over fossil fuel like coal and petroleum products.

It also provides incentives for renewable energy projects and activities, including the commercialization of locally produced RE equipment and components that benefit manufacturers, fabricators and suppliers.

Renewable energy developers can avail of income tax holiday for seven years of its commercial operations, duty-free importation of RE equipment, tax exemption from carbon credits, among others. The law also provides cash incentives to RE developers undertaking missionary electrification to make investments

The Department of Energy was designated lead agency to implement the Renewable Energy law. …