Renewable Energy and Water-to-Energy

The Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center of the Philippines, in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), conducted the “Forum on Renewable Energy and Waste-to-Energy PPPs” to encourage local government units (LGUs), special economic zones (SEZs), and government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) to utilize PPPs as one of the tools to develop innovative solutions in implementing or integrating renewable energy and waste-to-energy in their infrastructure and development projects.

The forum was held on August 30, 2019, at the New World Hotel, Makati City, and attended by national government agencies, local chief executives and officials, energy sector representatives and investors, and development partners. In the forum, the participants also discussed the Philippine government’s policies and initiatives on renewable energy and waste-to-energy and how these could be implemented through PPPs, particularly through Joint Venture (JV) agreements.

National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia delivered the welcome remarks and called to expand the role of PPPs to the development of solutions in renewable energy and waste-to-energy projects. “Sustainable consumption and production is one of the SDGs. This is where PPPs can further expand their role, particularly in developing innovative solutions in renewable energy and waste-to-energy projects,” the NEDA chief said.

In his special remarks, Mr. Ahmed M. Saeed, ADB Vice-President for Operations 2, emphasized that the role of the private sector, working in partnership and collaboration with governments, will be critical in the energy sector. “Some types of renewable energy, including waste-to-energy projects, are characterized by high investment and maintenance costs and complex construction issues. The public sector alone cannot bear the burden. Public-private partnerships in energy—the subject of this gathering—can allow governments to share the burden of financing and management. PPPs can be a valuable means to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy,” he added.

PPP Center Undersecretary and Executive Director Ferdinand A. Pecson, meanwhile, explained the objectives of the forum and the ongoing transformative shift to sustainable energy through PPPs. “We have assembled together various stakeholders including a number of experts in the field of renewable energy, in waste-to-energy, and in PPP, in an effort to come up with the answers. I enjoin everyone to maximize the opportunities for learning, for networking, and of course, for public-private and other types of partnerships that could come out of this forum,” he added.

Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian, Chairman of Senate Energy Committee, delivered the keynote address and stressed the need to advance the interest of consumers through renewable energy. He spoke about his initiative, Senate Bill No. 363, where LGUs are further encouraged to enter into PPPs and Joint Ventures in pursuing critical projects in these sectors.

In explaining his legislative proposal, he said, “Waste-to-energy is actually not the most efficient way of producing electricity. So we have to think, is waste-to-energy a form of producing electricity, or is it a form of waste management? In our case, the philosophy of waste-to-energy should be with the waste management agenda of the LGUs. So what we propose is a law, which encourages LGUs to look into PPPs and Joint Ventures other than simply bringing waste [to landfills] so that they can enter into waste-to-energy projects more economically.”

Atty. Jose M. Layug Jr., President of the Developers of Renewable Energy for AdvanceMent, Inc. (DREAM) and Senior Partner at Puno & Puno Law, talked about the role of PPPs in building a resilient and sustainable energy future. He also listed some steps that the LGUs may take to pursue and attract renewable energy projects, such as determining available renewable energy resources and conducting feasibility studies, ascertaining market for power and seeking private capital, and reaching off-grid or not connected areas, among others.

Mr. Manuel Omedas Aldanondo, Senior Technical Expert in Water and Renewable Energy and an ADB Consultant to PPP Center, explained how to integrate renewable energy in PPP infrastructure projects. He also discussed technical aspects of solar, wind, hydro, and energy storage.

PPP Center Assistant Secretary and Deputy Executive Director Mia Mary G. Sebastian clarified how the PPP Center can help the LGUs, SEZs, and GOCCs in developing their renewable energy projects. She also discussed the initiatives of the Center and best practices in structuring renewable energy and waste-to-energy projects.

In wrapping up the forum, PPP Center Assistant Secretary and Deputy Executive Director Eleazar E. Ricote reiterated the critical next policy and institutional actions needed such as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Administrative Order on Waste-to-Energy Guidelines, the Energy Virtual One Stop Shop (EVOSS) under Republic Act No. 11234, as well as the next steps of the Center’s Local PPP Strategy.

The PPP Center, through its Local PPP Strategy, focuses its support to local governments and other local implementing agencies. The strategy involves the expansion of the pipeline of viable PPP projects and extension of its technical assistance and capacity development support to prepare and deliver PPP projects at the local level. The strategy also incorporates climate-conscious technologies and knowledge in infrastructure projects.

The Project Development and Monitoring Facility (PDMF), which is a revolving fund managed by the PPP Center, can now also support more projects especially those coming from LGUs, state universities and colleges, local government corporations, water districts, and economic zones, among others. The PDMF supports local-government-led PPP projects, which provide climate-resilient infrastructure to vulnerable communities and mainstream climate resiliency in local PPP projects.