EV-ready: Is the Philippines prepared to go green?

If you haven’t heard, the rest of the world has started pulling the proverbial plug on Internal Combustion – Norway has set a goal to only sell Zero Emissions vehicles by 2025, the European Union and Korea by 2035, and even Singapore has promised to make it by 2030, too, while the United States of America has promised that half of their new car sales by 2030 will be zero emissions too.

Suffice it to say, the days of internal combustion are numbered, but are Filipinos ready for a Zero-Emission future? Are we prepared to set similar goals?

Also Read: Electric-vehicle industry roadmap may be implemented by Feb. 2023 — EVAP

What are we up to?

First and foremost, the green initiative in the Philippines is taking advantage of one of our most plentiful resources – solar energy. As recently as 2021, the Department of Energy has mandated that all new buildings must source at least 1% of their annual energy requirement from either Solar Photovoltaic cells or other available Renewable Energy sources, like wind turbines. This mandate only covers commercial buildings with an annual energy demand of 112.5 kiloVolt-Amperes or a gross floor area of 10,000 square meters and above.

In July of 2022, a bill was proposed in the Senate to start fitting government buildings with solar panels to decrease their load on the national grid or go entirely off-grid if possible, the idea being the promotion and democratization of the technology to make it accessible and affordable for the whole family.

For government vehicles, however, things could be more expedited. Under the EVIDA law, Republic Act No. 11697, various sectors in Philippine society will be mandated to have at least 5% of their fleets as EVs. Cargo companies, hotel and tour companies, Public Utility Vehicles, and even Utility providers like Meralco and Maynilad must switch at least 5% of their fleets to EVs within the foreseeable future. For government agencies, however, the mandate is slightly different – they need to meet the EVIDA law stipulations and those under the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act, or Republic Act No. 11825.

What does the future look like?

So what does that mean for the Philippine push for clean energy? Are we headed towards a solarpunk future with all the glass, solar panels, monorails, and lush greenery?

Not quite. Unfortunately, our goals for “Solarization” are minuscule compared to our neighbors and others worldwide. Even though we use many natural resources for renewable energy – solar, wind, and geothermal included, it’s not appropriate to call ourselves a green society until it’s fully democratized and accelerated further.

On the topic of EVs, again, it’s great that we have tax exemptions for EVs and Hybrids, but it’s still not enough, as many have been saying over and over again. We still lack the all-important charging infrastructure, which should be government-built, and tax credits, which are huge incentives for people to switch to EVs and hybrids.

What should be done?

Where do we stand on EVs? Dead last apparently, according to the Counterpoint Global Passenger Electric Vehicle Model Sales Tracker, Q3 2022. GRAPHIC FROM SEASIA.CO

In short, we’re at the point in our society where the government needs to step up and radically promote the use of Renewable Energy and Zero Emissions vehicles by not only mandating the adoption but by subsidizing it as well.

It’s time to put up or shut up. If the Philippines is to join the global push for clean and green energy, then the government must stop wasting time and resources and get its act together fast. Because otherwise, we’ll get left behind, and only a fool would want to get left behind.

Source: EV-ready: Is the Philippines prepared to go green?

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