Friday, January 13, 2012

News Update Using biomass energy may generate more jobs, says Aquino

Some 89,000 jobs may be generated by increased use of biomass energy, President Benigno Aquino III said Thursday. The President expects the use of biomass energy to increase from 39 megawatts (MW) to more than 300 megawatts by 2015. The increased use of biomass energy has a multiplier effect, because people with sources of income “become empowered consumers who can stimulate local economies and create even more jobs,” Aquino said in his speech at the 1st Philippine BioEnergy Conference. “The effects of advancing the biomass sector will also reach close to 577,000 farm families who can benefit, for example, by gaining additional income from the sale of agriwaste or forest residues that can be used in the development of biomass resources,” the President noted. Last year saw major developments in the Department of Energy’s alternative fuels program, part of which is the biofuels program that promotes two types of biofuels for transport — biodiesel and bioethanol. The President said with nine coco biodiesel plants operating in the country, the Philippines has a production capacity of more than 390 million liters as of 2011. “This means that we are capable of producing about 60 percent more than the local demand at two percent blend which provides us with an opportunity to take advantage of the growing worldwide demand for biodiesel and, at the same time, revitalize our ailing coconut industry,” Aquino added. He noted that nearly 39 percent of the country’s energy requirements comes from renewable sources such as hydropower, geothermal, solar, wind, and biomass. Aquino said the renewable energy program allows the country to contribute to the worldwide effort to mitigate the impact of climate change. “After all, the Philippines is one of the countries most vulnerable to its effects and we are hoping that the rest of the world would join us in proactively responding to what is perhaps the most pressing challenge of our age,” he said. “Our challenge lies in harmonizing our national goals with the goals of individuals like yourselves who share the belief that we can no longer go on using the energy the way we used to,” he said. He also urged them to ensure that the joint efforts redound to the benefit of the people. “Exploring alternative energy options is a noble endeavor. Our country believes that it can also be economically viable and can contribute to the alleviation especially in our rural areas and move us closer to our goals at equitable progress and inclusive growth,” he said. “If we are able to act upon the knowledge we gather and share in conferences like the one we are having today, we can protect ourselves from swings in the global commodities market while, at the same time, ensuring a clean, safe planet for future generations,” he added