The Department of Energy (DOE) and its development partners conducted the Luzon Energy Efficiency & Conservation (EE&C) Virtual Forum for Local Development on 1-2 October 2020  as part of its continuing efforts to ensure the full implementation of Republic Act 11285 or the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act of 2019 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR).

The online forum, which was the fourth and final event in the series, aimed to propel local energy efficiency initiatives and inclusive development throughout the country.

Signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte on  April 12, 2019, the EE&C Law and its IRR seek to secure the country’s energy supply by making EE&C a national way of life.

In his keynote speech, DOE Senior Undersecretary Jesus Cristino P. Posadas urged local government units (LGUs) and co-workers in the government to become models in the responsible use of energy in order to effectively champion EE&C.

“Challenges persist, with COVID-19 being at the top of that list, but we must be committed towards a more sustainable and green future, not just for Luzon, but for the whole country,” Usec. Posadas stressed.

Department of the Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Epimaco V. Densing III, who was also a keynote speaker, emphasized the need for public servants to balance the development and conservation of the environment.

The LGUs play a vital role in ensuring that provisions of the law are translated to local policies and appropriate strategies are implemented to ensure that energy efficiency and its benefits are felt throughout the country, he said.

Densing also underscored the importance of having a sound energy efficiency framework “in ensuring a sustainable energy future, where our quest for development and discovery for new technologies shall not compromise our environment.”

Meanwhile, EU Programme Manager for Energy Ms. Ileana Miritescu, in her opening remarks, emphasized  “the challenge to the energy sector is how to contribute to the collective efforts to ‘Build Back Better’ in response to this pandemic.”

She added that everyone needs to “transition to a new normal that makes use of our finite energy resources in the most efficient and effective way and reinforcing the multiple co-benefits of energy efficiency”.

Among the highlights of the Forum was a presentation on the salient features of the EE&C Act and its IRR, conducted by DOE-Energy Utilization Management Bureau Director Patrick T. Aquino. He also addressed  questions raised by participants on the development of local energy plans, the obligations of designated establishments, certifications, incentives, rating and labeling requirements, minimum energy performance, demand-side management, as well as the challenges and prohibited acts under the law.

On  September 30, 2020, a pre-forum session to assist LGUs in completing the DOE’s Local Energy Efficiency and Conservation Plan template was co-organized by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) the Philippines, through its One Planet Cities Program. Atty. Gia Ibay, Head of Climate and Energy Programme and National Director of WWF-Philippines’ Earth Hour, comprehensively explained how cities around the world are delivering their climate commitments through energy efficiency measures.

More than 250 local government executives, national government officials, financing institutions, private sector energy players, and investors attended the Luzon EE&C Virtual Forum for Local Development, which was organized in partnership with the European Union-supported Access to Sustainable Energy Programme (EU-ASEP), the ASEP Clean Energy Living Laboratories (ASEP-CELLs), and the Asian Development Bank. (MTQ/PIA-IDPD with additional information from DOE)

Original article is posted in the Philippine Information Agency website.