The Department of Energy (DOE), in partnership with the European Union-supported Access to Sustainable Energy Programme (EU ASEP), ASEP Clean Energy Living Laboratories (ASEP-CELLs), ICLEI Southeast Asia (ICLEI SEAS), and Xavier University, recently organized an online forum teaching local governments how to effectively finance and implement their local energy efficiency and conservation (EE&C) projects. Held from 20 to 21 May 2021, the forum convened over 300 representatives from Visayas and Mindanao local government units (LGUs), national government agencies (NGAs), academe, and private sector.

The EE&C forum specifically tackled public and private mechanisms that can help LGUs meet the mandates of the Philippine EE&C Act and the Government Energy Management Program (GEMP).

DOE Senior Undersecretary Jesus Cristino Posadas encouraged the participants to make use of the discussed mechanisms, saying “Making energy efficiency a part of our lives is everybody’s concern. We are asking for your commitment in attaining the goal of reducing our collective monthly electricity and fuel consumption.”

Department of Budget and Management Director Emelita Menghamal noted that the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Mandanas case will greatly help LGUs in their EE&C campaigns. Director Menghamal said that with the resulting augmentation to local finances by 2022, LGUs will have the seed money they need for their EE&C projects.

Meanwhile, the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center Director Maria Lerma Advincula stressed that LGUs could tap the PPP legal framework options in their search for EE&C project funds. In addition to facilitating ventures with private entities, the PPP Center offers assistance to LGUs on developing their local PPP codes to better encourage EE&C partnerships.

The forum also showcased financing modalities from private banks and multilateral organizations, including BPI’s Sustainable Energy Finance Program, Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Cities Development Initiative for Asia (CDIA), and ICLEI’s Transformative Actions Program (TAP).

BPI Vice President Jo Ann Eala advised LGUs that they may benefit from their bank’s program by partnering with private companies. On the other hand, CDIA and TAP are platforms that link LGUs to financial institutions, as well as provide capacity building through pre-feasibility studies and project preparation facilities.

The World Bank’s (WB) Senior Energy Specialist Feng Liu also introduced financing strategies that LGUs can take advantage of. One such strategy is partnering with Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) which could install and co-finance an EE project. In this manner, the ESCO assumes the risk of implementing an EE project, earning through monetary savings generated from the endeavor. ICLEI will continue to support DOE’s drive for local compliance with the EE&C Act and GEMP. It remains in close collaboration with its ASEP-CELLs partner LGUs as they craft Local EE&C Plans (LEECPs) and project proposals, as well as undertake the necessary capacity-building efforts to ensure the fruition of their EE&C projects.

“EE&C comprises one of ICLEI’s five pathways to sustainable development. As such, ICLEI SEAS is committed to supporting public and private stakeholders in their journey towards lower emissions and greener operations,” remarked ICLEI SEAS Regional Director Victorino Aquitania.

Supported by ADB, WB, and the USAID Energy Secure Philippines, the EE&C Forum highlighted the Philippine EE&C Act and GEMP, two landmark policies spearheading the country’s drive towards better EE&C. The EE&C Act specifies the roles of LGUs in integrating EE&C in local planning and development, while GEMP calls for a reduction of the government’s monthly consumption on electricity and fuel products by 10% through EE&C strategies.