MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines should capitalize on opportunities offered by renewable energy (RE) by encouraging more investments that are expected to generate up to 50,000 “green jobs” in the next 20 years while ensuring environmental protection.
Cynthia Cruz, Department of Labor and Employment Institute for Labor Studies executive director said the power industry, specifically the RE industry, could contribute immensely to the creation of green jobs.
Under the Philippine Energy Plan, 2009-30, power plants running on RE are expected to double within the next 20 years. Thus, there is a great potential to create green jobs in this sector, she pointed out.
“Green jobs include those resulting from investments using green technology and green industry practices. It could also be green goods and green services. Green jobs could therefore be new or existing jobs and everybody can contribute to the creation and expansion of green jobs,” Cruz stressed.
Cruz said investments in transitioning the economy away from carbon-intensive energy, minimizing degradation of natural resources, maximizing the efficient use of natural capital, protecting people and the planet from pollution and waste give rise to a new demand for labor.
She added these green investments are expected to create measurable impacts on employment, as these become the source of new green jobs.
“A green jobs strategy that will propel the move to a low carbon economy should place premium on creativity and innovation and put the general economic pressure for higher level skills and risk-management strategies,” Cruz said.
“Generating RE does not only produce clean energy from sustainable sources that will benefit the community through the protection of the environment but it also creates much needed green jobs for Filipinos,” Jerome Cainglet, First Gen Corp. vice president said.
First Gen operates natural gas, geothermal and hydropower plants across the country and accounts for 18 percent of the country’s total installed capacity.
Since 2004 Cainglet said First Gen’s power plants have reduced its carbon intensity by almost 30 percent while significantly increasing its power generation capacity by about 50 percent simply by investing more in RE.
“Overall, First Gen’s carbon intensity is on average 62 percent lower than the Philippine average across Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao grids,” he added.
He added that at the peak of the construction of a run-of-river hydropower plant, more than 100 skilled and unskilled workers were employed. Hydropower plants could take three years to construct.
He noted that operation and maintenance of a hydropower plant has a manpower requirement of about 30 employees, which excludes those employed from other economic or business activities that could sprout as a result of the construction and operation of the power plant.
He added that First Gen can partner with institutions such as the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority to train residents in communities hosting projects to help them acquire the needed skills and qualifications for employment.