Recognizing the Southern Luzon region’s vulnerability to natural disasters and the effects of climate change, a landmark Climate Challenge Summit was organized by the provincial government of Sorsogon and The Climate Reality Project–Philippines, which aimed to raise awareness among local communities on the importance of environmental conservation, sustainability and cleaner energy.
The event coincided with the first Geothermal Energy Day celebrated by the province, after Governor Robert Lee Rodrigueza recently signed Executive Order 001-2019 declaring every 5th of March as a special commemoration of the vital role that geothermal plays in the progress of the province.
The executive order recognizes geothermal energy as the “pioneer renewable energy resource in the Philippines” that can provide clean and reliable baseload power. Sorsogon is a province rich in geothermal resource and is host to the 140-megawatt Bacon-Manito (Bacman) Geothermal Project, which supplies power to the Luzon grid.
The climate summit, held at the Sorsogon State University, guested local government officials as well as stakeholders from various sectors of society in a dialogue and learning session on geothermal energy production.
“We need to limit our temperature rise to two degrees Celsius, and that’s our best-case scenario. If we reach a five-degree increase, climate scientists say this will usher in the end of human civilization,” explained Atty. Allan Barcena, corporate social responsibility head of Energy Development Corporation (EDC).
“This realization led us to a decision to not invest in coal, and to provide nothing but clean, renewable and reliable power for our future. Geothermal energy is the holy grail of renewable energy technologies. Properly managed, it can supply clean and uninterrupted power—day or night, rain or shine,” he added.
The province of Sorsogon was also awarded the Allen S. Quimpo Climate Leadership for Governance Memorial Award during the 2018 Climate Reality Leadership Awards of The Climate Reality Project–Philippines due the province’s efforts to respond to the urgency of climate change. In 2017, the province declared itself off-limits to coal power through Provincial Resolution 323-2017, citing the hazardous effects of coal to both the environment and to its residents’ health.