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Young Filipino “clean energy entrepreneurs” target more jobs, savings after COVID-19

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Young Filipino “clean energy entrepreneurs” target more jobs, savings after COVID-19

Young Filipino engineers and other professionals are innovating projects that could help ease the recession brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The projects use renewable energy to raise incomes in the countryside and modern technologies to generate energy efficiency savings for families and businesses.

The projects were presented recently in the webinar “Enabling Communities through Energy Innovations” hosted by the international non-profit New Energy Nexus, with the support of the German government’s development cooperation company Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the German political foundation Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES).

The eight projects presented provide solar power for health and other basic services as well as livelihood projects and even internet connectivity in marginalized communities, do crowdfunding for solar generators for sitios, turn rice straws and other food waste into clean fuels and fertilizer, minimize building energy cost using building energy modelling software, and track electricity usage cost per appliance in real time.

Lack of access to energy for basic services, livelihood, and connectivity hinders development in many remote communities in the country that cannot be connected to the power grid.

Energy efficiency provides important cost savings for households and businesses, as the Philippines has one of the highest electricity costs in Southeast Asia.

Around 150 start-up companies, entrepreneurs, investors, non-government organizations, government representatives, energy professionals, climate advocates, and the academe watched the presentations.

Some attendees expressed interest in partnering with the start-up companies.

More than half of the audience also said they want to be updated on the projects and others to come.

"We see a massive shift and turnover to renewables driven by inventors, innovators, and entrepreneurs," said Danny Kennedy, CEO of California-based New Energy Nexus, which supports clean energy entrepreneurs in the U.S., Asia and Africa with funds, accelerators and networks.

According to GIZ Philippines climate change projects coordinator Dr. Bjoern Surborg, “Germany’s ongoing Energiewende or energy transition to low-carbon renewables was driven in part by citizen-led initiatives. As a development organization, GIZ is supporting these start-ups to help fast-track the Philippines’ transition to clean and affordable energy with Philippine partner organizations on behalf of the German Government.”

FES Philippines Resident Representative Dr. Johannes Kadura added, "It is very important to not only strengthen sustainable projects when it comes to renewable energy, but also try to support, through our partners, the underprivileged and underserved population in the Philippines and to improve their livelihood."

The Philippine government welcomed the efforts to promote clean energy and strengthen livelihoods.

House Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda said in her keynote message, "Our aim is not just to have security of energy supply, reliability and affordability, but also to promote a healthy energy mix for our communities and future generations. This program is one of the effective ways to support our efforts towards a clean energy economy."

Dr. Enrico Paringit, Executive Director of the Department of Science and Technology’s Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD), said in the second keynote message, "Micro, small and medium enterprises generate substantial greenhouse gas emissions. If we help them adopt low-carbon technologies, we would also help them cut down their energy cost and so become more competitive."

Watch the young Filipino energy entrepreneurs presenting their projects here:

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