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Manila eyes more projects on clean energy under US President Biden

THE PHILIPPINES is likely to see more clean energy investment as an offshoot of the US rejoining the Paris Agreement, the industry’s regulator said.

In a text message, National Renewable Energy Board (NREB) Chair Monalisa C. Dimalanta said she remains hopeful that a US administration led by President Joseph R. Biden would produce more direct investment in the Philippines’ renewable energy (RE) sector.

“We definitely expect positive impact from the renewed active involvement of the US in clean energy and climate risk mitigation efforts. For one, we hope to get our share of increased US direct investment as well as technical support and assistance in the RE space in the Philippines,” Ms. Dimalanta told BusinessWorld Friday.

The Paris Agreement aims to keep the rise in average global temperatures below 1.5 degrees Celsius. On Friday, Reuters reported that Mr. Biden issued an executive order on Wednesday to bring the US back into the Paris accord.

During his campaign, Mr. Biden set a target of zero net emissions by 2050. On his website, he said he planned to “marshal an historic investment in energy efficiency, and clean energy to address bottlenecks and unlock America’s full clean energy potential.”

Michael L. Ricafort, the chief economist of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., said that RE, electric vehicles and other related industries in the supply chain “could still continue to boom in the Philippines” in a Biden administration.

“Since the campaign, Biden advocated for clean/renewable power and opposed shale oil and other energy sources with adverse impact on the environment,” Mr. Ricafort said in an e-mail Friday.

Terry L. Ridon, convenor of public policy think-tank Infrawatch, Mr. Biden’s decision to rejoin the Paris climate agreement would lead to a “renewed and wider focus on financing large-scale green projects globally.”

“In the Philippines, this should push the government to undertake more green energy projects but ensure the least cost to the public, whether through lower generation costs or lower feed-in-tariff,” Mr. Ridon said in an e-mail Thursday.

University of the Philippines political science professor Maria Ela L. Atienza said that US businesses were not the only possible source of increased financial support and assistance.

“US businesses are not the only ones present in the Philippines. EU (European Union) businesses are also pushing for cleaner and greener environmental practices so you have both the US and the EU pushing for that. Until now, there (have been) strong investments in the Philippines. These are added bargaining chips on the part of the US and the EU when it comes to additional investments and development assistance for the Philippines,” Ms. Atienza told BusinessWorld by phone Thursday.

Some of the development assistance extended by EU countries focuses on green environmental policy, including business practices, she said. — Angelica Y. Yang

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