07 August 2011
The Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) is a staunch advocate of renewable energy. FDC has long pushed for a transition in the Philippines away from fossil fuel dependence and towards sustainable, renewable energy. FDC believes the enjoyment of clean, renewable energy is a basic human right, just as access to clean water is a basic right of Filipinos. FDC believes that even without the climate crisis, the transition to renewable energy should be made, because it lessens air pollution dramatically and it reduces our country's dependence on foreign sources of energy, particularly a volatile international oil market dominated by cartels and greedy corporate interests. Unfortunately, unjust, onerous and fundamentally flawed policies that continue to dominate the electricity sector, however, are preventing working Filipinos from fully enjoying this right.
FDC believes renewable energy is a central solution to climate change, and that, consistent with the principle of Common But Differentiatied Responsibilities (CBDR), it is the obligation of rich countries to finance the transition of developing countries such as the Philippines towards sustainable energy-fueled economies. Having said this, however, we also believe that the CBDR principle must be applied domestically as well. It is in this regard that we submit this position, which includes recommendations that we deem essential to a just, sustainable and just transition towards renewable energy.
FDC urges the Energy Regulatory Commission to proceed with careful deliberation in tackling the proposed Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) for the pricing of the Renewable Energy use in the country. Stakeholders need to be fully involved, particularly to sharpen, develop and ultimately ensure that proposals to the ERC currently will ensure that the interests of consumers are advanced in terms of affordable electricity pricing regimes and their access to renewable energy, particularly new, renewable energy.
The existing FIT proposal is an incentive to private sector developers that will unfortunately eventually pass-on to ordinary consumers the capital costs for the renewable energy development. FDC believes a more equitable, democratic, sustainable and reasonable pricing methodology can and should be formulated.
FIT is one of the many mechanisms that can accelerate the distribution and development of renewable energy, however, FIT pricing for consumers should not be blind to the differentiated emissions contributions of each type of costumer – residential, commercial and industrial.
The consumer with low greenhouse gas emissions should not have to bear the same increased electricity rate burden as those who with larger emissions, as the case currently is with the proposed uniform FIT application. Those who contribute more emissions must pay more. Those who emit less should shoulder less costs relative to the country's renewable energy transition.
The promotion and full shift to renewable energy should be tightly linked with the principles and goals of (a) equitable access to energy; (b) adequate energy to ensure basic needs are met and a life of dignity for all; (c) democratic control and management of energy resources; and, d) a just transition that will protect the right to jobs and livelihoods.
During the National Power Summit organized by FDC last June 26, where almost 50 Electric Cooperative participated, common agreement was made in support of the development of renewable energy and at the same time propose alternatives to FIT which recognize the principle of common but differentiated responsibility in the Philippine electricity sector.
We believe national government should not rush blindly into implementing FIT as currently formulated. Instead, government should pursue innovative sources of finance that can cover the incremental difference between the current price rate of electricity and the projected increase that will be incurred if the FIT as conceptualized is approved. Furthermore, mechanisms must be developed which differentiate ability-to-pay and which apply differentiated emissions metrics among electricity consumers. The Feed-In Tariff system must be socialized -- from FIT to SOFIT, or socialized Feed-in Tariffs In addition, FDC believes government must demand strongly and persistently that rich countries cover the incremental cost of shifting to renewable energy, and that the operations of renewable energy companies and the generation costs they are claiming must be subject to full, transparent and rigorous scrutiny and regulation.
FDC believes climate finance from rich industrialized countries should not be in the form of loans and should not contain any conditionalities. We undertake to develop and articulate further the basis for climate finance.
Finally, FDC believes electric cooperatives, consumers and community organizations should be given a pivotal role in the development of renewable energy production and equitable access to RE. -30-