Through the Access to Sustainable Energy Programme-Clean Energy Living Laboratories (ASEP-CELLs), the Ateneo School of Government, with the funding support from the European Union, held the sixth installment of the virtual Energy Policy Series (EPS) last August 27, 2021.

With more than 100 participants from various government agencies, academic institutions, private sector, and civil society, ASEP-CELLs’ senior research fellow Mr. John Charles Altomonte presented his working paper titled, “Renewable energy policy failure in the Philippines: A case of socially embedded selection pressures”.

Joining the panel were Dr. Mary Ann Quirapas-Franco from the Energy Studies Institute of the National University of Singapore, and Dr. Lorafe Lozano from the University of San Carlos, as discussant and moderator, respectively.

Mr. Altomonte’s working paper aimed to discuss the factors that contributed to the failure of renewable energy (RE) policy in the Philippines, despite being the first in Southeast Asia to pass such legislation for increased RE production. The paper primarily expands on the status of RE policy in the Philippines through two aspects: policy outcomes, and selection pressures exhibited in the policy network.

In his research, Mr. Altomonte also introduced the concept of social embeddedness, present in the ties within the Philippine RE policy network. The main concern of the paper, he said, was to “see how these ties are segmented within the fabric of the policy network”.

As a discussant, Dr. Quirapas-Franco highlighted the distinctiveness of the study in using a socio-technical approach to analyze the situation of RE policy adaption in the Philippines. For her comments, Dr. Quirapas-Franco focused more on the theoretical clarifications, and empirical data presentation. She asked about the conceptual boundaries of the network discovered by the study, and any specific actors and institutions involved.

Dr. Quirapas-Franco also recommended that the study’s theoretical framework be contextualized to the Philippine energy network. Lastly, she incited discussion by questioning the lack of incentives to transform the system, and possible lessons we can learn for a better RE policy implementation.

In response, Mr. Altomonte expounded on the suggestion of transforming the system by citing the solar photovoltaic (PV) industry and how its narrative has emphasized scaling in order to insert itself into the current regime.

The open forum, moderated by Dr. Lozano, mainly revolved around a discussion on sociopolitical landscape of Philippine RE policy. Discussion points included the presence of other factors, other than social ties, that hinder RE policy growth, alternatives in RE policy implementation, and potential business models that could support it.

Access the working paper of Mr. Altomonte here. A recording of the webinar is also available through the ASOG Facebook page.