MANILA-- Governments should make policies that will give renewable energy (RE) the necessary push to make it available to the great majority of people.
The statement was made by Ganesh Pangare, regional director for Asia-Pacific of the International Water Association (IWA), on the sidelines of the ongoing Water Philippines Expo 2017. The biennial event for the first time features renewable energy (RE) as part of the exhibition, apart from 120 different products and services in water supply, sanitation, waste water treatment and water purification.
Pangare pointed out that renewable energy is mostly used by the private sector or individual entrepreneurs.
"I think there also has to be a policy angle in the terms that governments can't just keep a blind eye that this is happening. I think we do need more investment coming from the state. Some of the poorest of the poor don't have energy while the rich are getting subsidized fossil energy. That is the disparity which I am trying to highlight," Pangare said in an interview with the Philippine News Agency .
He noted that a large portion of Asia does not enjoy a stable, 24/7 supply of power they can use on demand.
By using solar technology and distribution generation, people living in rural or isolated areas will be able to enjoy a continuous supply of electricity, he added.
"Renewable energy provides a fixed, assured energy source and therefore farmers can irrigate when the crop needs irrigation and then the resource ground water is saved because they will be taking out only what they need and not pumping out and storing it and then just wasting it," Pangare explained.
Today, with the advances in technology, solar products have become more affordable that even farmers with a small piece of land could buy his own solar power generator to water his farm, he said.
The same solar energy has enabled people living in remote areas to use cell phones, he said.
"In villages in India, people had no telephone connections and now, everybody has mobile phones and with renewable energy or solar, people can charge their mobile phones," Pangare said.
On conserving water resources, Pangare emphasized the need to find a solution to the wastage of non-revenue water.
"(Non-revenue water) is basically water lost by the utility somewhere in the course of distribution and therefore does not get charged to the customer. This loss can go as high as 60 percent sometimes. Therefore, not only did we lose 60 percent of the water but we also lost 60 percent of the energy needed to transport that water," he pointed out.
Pangare related that two years ago, India established a Ministry of Renewable Energy and has since made RE a viable alternative source, especially for rural areas.
"For a country with a population of 1.2 billion, trying to get targets of 20-25 percent based on renewable, it has to be done on a mission mode. Everybody has to come together -- government, the private sector, entrepreneurs -- all of them have to come together but at least, the thrust has come from the government. It's a very positive thing," he said.
Water Philippines Expo, held every two years since 2011, features the latest products in water supply and sanitation, sewerage, industrial wastewater practices, trends and technologies. This year's exhibition not only showcases products, technology and services in the water and renewable energy industry. Visitors may also attend seminars and lectures on technical subjects, such as climate change, water supply efficiency and water quality and sanitation initiatives.
The exhibition, organized by the Philippine Waterworks Association, runs until Friday (March 24) at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.
Source: Philippines News Agency