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The Negros Occidental provincial government will soon utilize solar power to energize its main office buildings as part of the initiatives to go renewable to ensure power security for Negrenses.

Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said in a statement on Tuesday the province will bid out the works for the utilization of solar panels, based on the result of the energy audit.

“As a result of this energy audit, the provincial government will soon bid out the solarization of seven provincial buildings, the biggest of which is the Negros First Cyber Centre,” he said.

Lacson said that since 2023, he initiated the energy audit for the Provincial Capitol and other key provincial buildings to “set an example in action, not just words.”

“I enjoin everyone, particularly our local government units, to do the same, starting with grid tied rooftop solar systems,” he added.

On Monday afternoon, Lacson and former governor Rafael Coscolluela, the provincial consultant on energy and environment concerns, led the launch of the SecuRE Negros campaign as a commitment to energy security through the support for distributed energy systems or distributed energy resource models, and the use of renewable energy sources.

Negros Occidental has a total installed renewable energy capacity of 510 megawatts produced by 16 power plants, among these are eight biomass and six solar plants and one battery energy storage system.

However, the province does not directly consume the power it produces, the study showed.

The governor acknowledged that ensuring energy security for the province is “not an easy, short-term endeavor,” adding that “it requires careful study, strategic planning and implementation, and continuous consultation.”

“In this, we have been proactive, strategic, and consultative,” he said.

Lacson said the province has been proactive by anticipating future energy challenges given the periodic power outages the Negrenses have been experiencing for so long through a research-based assessment of the real power situation as a basis for policy-making.

The Provincial Power Sector Study Group was created in 2021 to assess the province’s current power situation and propose policy measures and other recommendations, and Negros Occidental Power Sector Assessment Study research team was subsequently formed in 2022.

“We have been strategic by utilizing the information collected from the study and examining it against the backdrop of bigger challenges such as impending energy and climate crises,” he said.

“We have been and continue to be consultative because what affects us all must involve us all. We are for a just transition that is fair and inclusive, too, not just any transition,” he added.

Lacson said that this year, the province will conduct power summits to consult all stakeholders to develop the Negros Occidental Energy Development Road Map, hold a Renewable Energy Week, and ask the Provincial Board to pass a Renewable Energy Ordinance.

“These are only for 2024. We will have more to work on together after we have jointly developed the Negros Occidental Energy Development Road Map,” he said. (PNA)