Saturday, October 09, 2010

Shift to renewable energy expensive but return of investment expected

Shift to renewable energy expensive but return of investment expected 
By Bernadette Parco
Sun.Star Cebu
October 9, 2010

Investors are assured of a return on investment if they shift to using renewable sources of energy, said Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri.

“Businessmen have to keep an open mind; their focus is a five-year return of investment,” he told reporters.

He said investing in renewable energy is expensive but return on investment is expected in 10 years.

“It is expensive. Installation costs (of renewable energy) - initially - are real high,” said Zubiri, the main author of Republic Act 9513, or the Renewable Energy Act of 2008.

He said in the long run, renewable energy brings more profit than coal.

Zubiri pointed to incentives for business investing in renewable energy such as tax holidays and tax rebates.

He said data from the Department of Energy showed there are over 50 applicants for
renewable energy in the country.

“We are talking about billions of dollars in run-off water power plants and geothermal power plants,” he said.

Green energy

There are rich local sources of green energy in the country, particularly in the Visayas.

“Dumaguete City and the tip of the island of Cebu have a high wind gradient. These are top areas for wind turbines that can also be used for eco-tourism later on. We also know the potential of solar energy in the country since we have that all year round,” he said.

“The Aboitiz Group is a frontrunner in run-off river power that could provide 200 megawatts in the next two years,” he said.

Zubiri also said the country is the second largest geothermal energy producer in the world.

“We can be a renewable energy powerhouse,” he said.

Zubiri said the shift to renewable energy is part of climate change mitigation projects.

“With wind energy, there is zero methane, zero carbon dioxide. In the long term with coal-fired power plants, there will be respiratory disease, and contributions to climate change,” he said.