Around 16 foreign investors expressed interest in partnering with local electric cooperatives to invest in clean energy mini-grid around the country.These foreign investors recently participated in a business-to-business (B2B) matchmaking session in Manila.Ernesto Silvano, Jr., National Electrification Administration director of the Office for Renewable Energy Development, said that with 1,702 potential off-grid sites in the Philippine, the country’s 121 electric cooperatives in the country which have to face up to the challenge of electrifying the Philippines by 2020.“The B2B Forum is a useful platform for electric cooperatives in the Philippines to meet mini-grid technology providers. Half of our electric cooperatives have already been engaging in similar B2B events since the beginning of 2018, and since then three projects have been completed and two are in the pipeline.” Silvano said.

A post-event survey conducted by the Alliance for Rural Electrification that co-organized the first-ever Philippines Mini-grid Business-to-Business (B2B) Forum in Manila recently showed that 16 foreign participants said they would or were very likely to invest in mini-grids in the Philippines.The B2B forum was primarily organized by the Department of Energy with the support of the European Union. The Philippines National Electrification Administration (NEA) was also one of the supporting organizations.

More than 280 technology providers, project developers and investors from Asia, Europe and North America took part in the B2B Forum.The Forum conducted to provide participants a platform to partner with electric cooperatives in bringing electricity to rural communities by building clean renewable energy mini-grids.Over 100 participants entered into more than 185 direct personal meetings on the final B2B Matchmaking day, with almost 90 meetings leading to cooperation.

Among the Forum participants were 60 representatives of the government and public sector, such as NEA, National Power Corp. and the Energy Regulatory Commission, 50 from electric cooperatives in the Philippines and 25 investors.Energy Senior Undersecretary Jesus Posadas said the Forum, which was facilitated by the DOE-EU Access to Sustainable Energy Programme (ASEP), was a good opportunity to link investors, electric cooperatives, and other stakeholders to scale-up of electrification using sustainable and clean energy to foster economic development.“The B2B Forum is timely as the Government of Philippines is targeting 100 percent electrification by 2020 using the least-costly and reliable energy technologies for the many unserved and underserved island grids in the country,” Posadas said.The recent DOE Department Circular released in August establishes the guidelines and rules on the Renewable Portfolio Standards for Off-Grid Areas in the Philippines.“The Department Circular mandates power suppliers to source a percentage of the energy supply from sustainable and renewable energy resources and technologies,” Posadas said.Katarina Hasbani, Vice-President of the Alliance said that the B2B Forum enabled companies including ARE Members to meet with electric cooperatives and local Filipino companies to identify and facilitate new off-grid projects.“ARE Members are interested to deploy their technology and projects in the Philippines.

They have the industry expertise, technology know-how and project implementation experience. ARE Members do not just bring electricity, but they also create revenue generation for local communities.” Katarina Hasbani concluded.ARE is an international business association which aims to promote a sustainable decentralized renewable energy industry for the 21st century, activating markets for affordable energy services, and creating local jobs and inclusive economies. ARE enables improved energy access through business development support for more than 150 members along the whole value chain for off-grid technologies.