In October 2008 then former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo signed Republic Act 9513 otherwise known as the Renewable Energy Act to jumpstart and fast track the development of renewable energy sources in the country. This is thinking ahead considering that conventional sources of energy are severely limited and quickly being depleted.
Sixteen years hence or just a couple of days ago the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) finally signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) essentially allowing both agencies of the
government to collaborate with each other to advance the research and development of renewable energy (RE) in the

What the heck? It took the government, or in this case the DOE (as well as other agencies in the government), sixteen years to realize that it needed the DOST to take the lead in the research and development of renewable energy! And if it is only now that the DOE or the DOST will accelerate matters in areas of research and development for renewable energy then the whole of nation approach to solving the country’s problems, especially on its energy needs, might be failing, or worse just a pipe dream.

From the time the renewal energy act was enacted several administrations and presidents have come and gone and yet it is only now during this time of President Bongbong Marcos and his administration where the government has finally come to understand the importance and urgency of utilizing renewable energy as a more reliable and constant source of power. Going back to the law itself previous administrations were apparently in the dark on how to implement and operationalize some of its relevant provisions and it was only a couple of years back when the DOE finally got around to coming up with an order to execute some of the provisions of the said law.

For instance, RA 9513 which is also known as the renewable energy act mandated in Section 27 of the said law the creation of the National Renewable Energy Board (NREB) comprising representatives from the DOE, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of Finance, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the National Power Corporation, the National Transmission Corporation, the Philippine National Oil Company, the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation, renewable energy developers, government financial institutions, private distribution facilities, electric cooperatives, electricity suppliers, and nongovernmental organizations.

The NREB is one big group with all of its members but the law itself might have conveniently forgotten to add the DOST in its roster of members. This is what the DOE might have realized hence the MOA with DOST to rectify the
inadvertence. However it must be pointed out that why did it take this long for the DOE or other agencies of the
government involved to realize that they need the expertise of scientists in the research and development of potential
sources of renewable energy before measures can be undertaken to exploit them. It does not rocket science to
understand that studies must be made before any execution can be done.

Even in war a careful study must be made of the opponent before hostilities can begin. At this juncture, and may be even if it is a little bit late in the game science, and of course scientists, are badly needed to ferret out the exact
potential and reliability of various sources of renewable energy such as biomass, solar, wind, hydro, geothermal and
ocean energy before these can be fully utilized by the government in order for the country to achieve energy self-reliance. There is only so much that the government can do in harnessing renewable sources of energy but the MOA between the DOE and DOST is a step in the right direction.

It does not also hurt that the DOE, under the said MOA, will allow the DOST to access the Renewable Energy Trust Fund (RETF) mandated under Section 28 of the Renewable Energy Act of 2008. Also under the said MOA the DOE and the DOST will “collaborate on research projects aimed at enhancing the efficiency, affordability and scalability of renewable energy technologies.”

If it’s any consolation to the DOST the RETF shall be funded by the following: (a) Proceeds from the emission fees collected from all generating facilities consistent with Republic Act No. 8749 or the Philippine Clean Air Act; (b) One and 1/2 percent (1.5%) of the net annual income of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office; (c) One and 1/2 percent (1.5%) of the net annual income of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation; (d) One and 1/2 percent (1.5%) of the net annual dividends remitted to the National Treasury of the Philippine National Oil Company and its subsidiaries; (e) Contributions, grants and donations, among others. That’s a lot of funds for the DOST to use in its research and development of renewable energy sources. Let us hope they make good use of it.

Amianan Balita Ngayon