Community opposition cited as top hurdle to starting energy projects

ENERGY executives in the Philippines cited “community opposition” as a major hurdle to implementing energy projects and expressed concerns that such frictions could potentially hinder the country’s transition to greener energy.

Research firm GHD, citing the results of a study, said 76% of Philippine energy industry leaders identified community opposition as among the “biggest barriers” in pursuing energy projects.

About 82% said energy security is their top concern, higher than the global average of about 75%, the study found.

The inability to initiate energy projects without encountering opposition at the project site may slow the transition to greener forms of energy, Lucas Blight, GHD’s technical director and Future Energy coordination lead for Asia-Pacific, said in a statement.

“The Philippines is facing a rapid energy transition and is charting a course into new energy territories with changing energy blends. As a net importer of energy, the Philippines is vulnerable to supply shocks.”

“Philippine leaders point to community opposition as being one of the biggest barriers to getting new energy projects that could help tackle the crisis approved and off the ground,” the report said.

It said any disruption to the global energy supply would leave many countries with over two months’ supply of fuel on average.

“There is a need for integrated solutions that provide energy security and reduce emissions at the same time as generating low-cost power to fuel continued economic growth. For example, many of the country’s islands are dependent on diesel generators — which can be progressively replaced with renewable micro-grids,” Mr. Blight said.

Recently, the National Power Corp. signed a partnership with the German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry to study the feasibility of green hydrogen and fuel cell technologies in off-grid areas. 

The study also found that half of the world’s energy industry executives consider their net-zero goals to have been delayed by about six years on average.

GHD said the study was based on a survey of 450 respondents who are senior energy industry decision-makers, with input from interviews of 10 industry thought leaders. — Ashley Erika O. Jose