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POLICY PROPOSALS FOR COMMUNITY BASED RENEWABLE ENERGY SYSTEMS (CBRES) IN THE PHILIPPINES

Renewable Energy Summit Cebu City


March 7-8, 2011

There is a strong correlation between the levels of energy and poverty in many rural and urban poor communities in the country -UNDP study entitled Regional Energy Programme for Poverty Reduction (REPPoR) Philippines.

value addition to production remains limited and resource potentials largely untapped due to lack of energy inputs. Lack of post-harvest facilities continues to decrease potential income from production by substantial amount.

Livelihood opportunities continue to be scarce and limited as a result.

Residents in far-flung communities continue to manually fetch water for potable uses from remote sources, because of lack of energy inputs to delivery water supply.

In many areas, lack of water supply for irrigation is a main cause of low productivity, and many lands left to remain idle.

Women in indigenous areas continue to manually pound rice for daily needs, taking away time for productive and reproductive activities.

Without appropriate fuel for cooking, women and other members of the household continue to spend time to gather fuelwood from surrounding areas thus lessening their availability to engage in productive and reproductive activities.

Children are affected directly or indirectly with the lack of appropriate energy services or continuous exposure to substandard lighting and ventilation that impairs their ability to learn.

Energy fuels productive activities, including agriculture, commerce, manufacture and industry.

Energy services meanwhile are crucial input to the primary development challenge of providing food, water, sanitation, medical care, schooling and access to information.

There is none in the law to provide communities with sufficient choices in accessing appropriate (adequate, affordable, reliable, safe and environmentally benign) energy services to support economic and human development.

Main Basis of Policy Proposal

Community-based renewable energy systems have been established in many offgrid villages and barangays in the country since the 90s.

For over a decade now, microhydro, hydraulic ram pumps, wind systems, biomass-fired systems have been developed and used for community and household utilization, by community or peoples organizations with the support of NGOs and LGUs.
These systems are operated, managed and sustained by community organizations. These have generated impacts that lead to poverty reduction: power for lighting households, schools and communities, for milling grain, for delivering water supply to farms and households, for driving equipment to process and dry crops, and for cooking.

Community-based Microhydro power (MHP) systems for driving production and postharvest equipment and for household and village electrification.

Hydraulic ram pumps for water pumping to serve household needs or small farm irrigation.

Photovoltaic systems for water pumping and household electrification and communication facilities.

Solar passive systems for households, crop drying (fruits and vegetables), rural clinics and schools.

Biogas utilizes human and animal manure, leaves, twigs, grasses, crop stalks, garbage, and some agricultural and industrial wastes to produce biogas. The technology became an effective pollution control system and a good source of energy for cooking and for power/electricity generation;

Small wind power systems for driving water pumping and battery-charging for household electrification.

Hybrid systems or mix of hydro, wind, solar and/or biomass systems for electrification needs of villages.

The primary players: NGOs and POs with support by LGUs

Many NGOs and POs in partnership with LGUs have initiated the above work in remote villages to gain field experience in planning for the energy needs of a rural community and finding sustainable solutions to meet these needs -- with poverty reduction as the driving force.

KASBAKAS and the Datalnay Project

The wealth of experience gained from more than 20 years of association with the rural people by these front-line organizations working closely or independently with government agencies, therefore are very important for everyone involved in the field of rural energy and development. The experiences are noteworthy for various projects and unique site-specific energy systems with strong poverty/energy linkages using e.g. microhydro and biomass technologies, displacing, avoiding or reducing diesel generation and petroleum fuels in typical rural villages.

The experiences are not restricted to technology dissemination, but have a wider developmental perspective encompassing the socio-cultural and local institutional aspects in technology design and application, program planning, monitoring, and evaluation.

The approach, therefore, does not dwell much on the technologies, but on the processes that make these technologies work and be sustained in rural areas, which are often overlooked by planners and policy makers.

Policy Proposals

Policy Proposal #1

Recognize and support the development of community-based RE systems (CBRES), as one delivery mechanism to address the energy-poverty gap in remote and rural poor areas.

The proposal to develop CBRES stems from the need to develop local community involvement in meeting energy-poverty agenda, to promote roles of local stakeholders as both managers and resource providers of local energy needs. The involvement of communities through CBRES will bring the energypoverty agenda to the social dimension of basic services, and will tap local or community capacity to be self-reliant and productive.
Further, the establishment of CBRES accepts the integration of full community social acceptability and preparation as basic requirements of energy development.

What is CBRES?

The CBRES is a communitybased approach by organized communities to manage and own the power plant, and direct its purpose for community development. This organization may be linked to agencies and entities who can be their project partners.

Which are the targets of CBRES projects?

Generally poor areas, including off-grid areas within the rural areas consist the main target of CBRES. It is in these areas where poverty rate for the rural population is highest in the country, and decreases more slowly compared to the urban population, thus where socio-economic development should really be focused.

Policy Proposal #2

The promotion of comprehensive rural development and encouragement of nongovernmental, community-based, or sectoral organizations in the promotion of CBRES.
The NGOs and POs are to be recognized as vital links in the decentralization of access to energy, and are capable to perform project development, initiation of innovative approaches and technologies, resource mobilization, capacity building, and operations.

The establishment of CBRES invokes the right to development of and recognition of roles of women, indigenous people, and all other underprivileged in society.

Policy Proposal #3

Uphold renewable energy and sustainable development to comprise the basic mix in energy policy for poor communities, which is realizable through CBRES. Renewable energy technology is concluded to be a viable alternative to grid electricity in remote barangays. Sustainable energy development recognizes the primary role of communities in the management of their resources.

Policy Proposal #4

The integration of gender concerns as basic in CBRES development. Participation, access to technology and concrete benefits to women will be key indicators for monitoring of the success of CBRES projects.

Policy Proposal #5

The local government should be mandated to aid in CBRES development consistent with the policy of decentralization of energy services to reach the remaining unelectrified and unserved areas and unenergized communities.

The LGU will be mandated to allocate resources for the CBRES, through ordinances and budget allocation; and help ensure the sustainability of the CBRES projects.

Policy Proposal #6

The establishment of CBRES shall directly address and encourage productive applications of renewable energy, i.e., CBRES shall be planned or aimed to immediately link to community-based or decentralized energy-based entrepreneurship for developing rural areas geared toward poverty alleviation and gender equity.

Policy Proposal #7

We propose for the establishment of a CBRES Fund to meet the appropriate financing needs for energy services for poverty reduction.

Policy Proposal #8

Support to research and development for CBRES. This can directly encourage research and development and innovation -- to improve the designs for increased efficiency and responsiveness to multifarious needs of rural development.

Policy Proposal #9

Recognize CBRES as primary energy adaptation and mitigation mechanism to climate change.

Daghang Salamat PADAYON!