Philippines is shifting towards large scale adoption of electric vehicles and solar powered charging stations to fight emissions and climate change.
“A low-carbon path in the transport sector is an essential part of the Philippines’ strategic priority and we will pursue cleaner, indigenous and optimized energy and transport,” said the energy secretary of Philippines, Alfonso G. Cusi, at the opening ceremony of the 6th Philippine Electric Vehicles Summit held in Pasay City.
During the summit, the Department of Energy (DoE) underlined its Alternative Fuels and Energy Technology Roadmap that supports the government’s aggressive Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) Modernization Program.
The energy chief also emphasized the need to reduce the country’s oil dependence in accordance with the E-Diskarte principle under the E-Power Mo campaign that promotes a smart energy lifestyle.
He added that the heavy dependence of the Philippines on imported fuel makes the country vulnerable to energy supply disruptions and global price fluctuations.
Cusi said the current annual motor vehicle growth rate of about 6 percent will likely increase road transport emissions. This will result in further deterioration of the country’s air-quality and an increase in carbon footprint.
On the issue of having a broader range of sustainable energy choices, Fuentebella assured summit participants, “We support the development of alternative technology and fuel options that demonstrate energy efficiency such as hybrid and electric vehicles in the transport sector.”
The Department of Energy also plans to put up solar charging stations to support the development of the electric vehicles, especially e-trikes. “We were also given the go-ahead to use the Clean Technology Fund, the grant to put up solar charging stations. We’re drafting the terms of reference for that, we have to bid it out. So that’s going to take a while. We’re waiting for certain consultants to come in and help us come up with a plan and terms of reference,” energy assistant secretary Leonido Pulido III said.
The DoE will obtain funding for the solar charging station project from the $4 million Clean Technology Fund of the Asian Development Bank under the government’s Market Transformation Through the Introduction of Energy Efficient Vehicles (E-trike) Project.
The department is laying the groundwork for the successful rollout of electric vehicles in the country by promoting the construction of support infrastructure, such as e-charging stations and after-sales service.
The local adoption of electric vehicles came with challenges and opportunities. “There is a need to construct support infrastructures such as charging stations based on an open-access, non-discriminatory environment. We need to establish after-sales-support services to address anxiety of drivers on the availability of service centers, replacement parts, sustainability of operations,” Cusi said.
Earlier, the DoE met with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to possibly supply e-trike units in Boracay as part of the island’s rehabilitation process. Last January, the agency also donated 200 units of e-trikes to the local government of Marawi as part of efforts to rebuild the city.
The agency had likewise mentioned that the Bases Conversion and Development Authority is keen to use the vehicles on its properties in Clark Freeport Zone and Bonifacio Global City aside from the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
“At present, at least 40 units were physically deployed but up to 1,700 were already committed to various interested local government units, public offices and private organizations. The EV industry was still building up the domestic market and upgrading its production capacity. We can see expansion of the EV market not only in cities but also in the countryside. We are looking at the local auto industry to be part of the EV development,” added Pulido.
In another step towards curbing the country’s emissions and moving forward in a sustainable fashion, Solar Home Systems are helping to bring electricity to thousands of homes in off-grid communities in Mindanao, the second largest island in the Philippines.
Saumy is a senior staff reporter with MercomIndia.com covering business and energy news since 2016. Prior to Mercom, Saumy was a copy editor at Thomson Reuters. Saumy earned his Bachelors Degree in Journalism & Mass Communication from the Manipal Institute of Communication at Manipal University. More articles from Saumy Prateek.