ENERCON 2018 explores sustainable energy in the ASEAN

National and international thought leaders and scholars exchanged insights on the adoption and development of sustainable energy during the 2nd International Conference on Energy Economics (ENERCON 2018).

The knowledge sharing event organized by the UPLB Department of Economics (DE) featured plenary and parallel sessions on the theme “Energy and the environment: challenges and opportunities amidst ASEAN integration towards inclusive growth” on July 19-20 at the Acacia Hotel in Muntinlupa City .

Prof. Anthony D. Owen, principal fellow and head of the National University of Singapore’s Energy Economics Division, explored the potential of integrating power grids and enabling cross-border electricity trade in the ASEAN during his plenary talk. This, according to him, would result in more efficient power transmissions and reduce carbon emissions in the Region.

Another plenary speaker, Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian emphasized the need to upgrade traditional electrification programs to make power accessible to more people. Sen. Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate Committee on Energy and Economic Affairs, said that 30% of Filipino households still do not have 24/7 access to electricity, thus limiting opportunities for development and livelihood.

Other economic, social, and environmental discussions on energy were tackled during ENERCON 2018’s plenary sessions. The speakers discussed the impacts of sustainable energy at the local to the regional levels; possible steps towards clean and sustainable energy use in ASEAN; and the effective market structures and mechanisms for the power trade and industry.

The speakers were Former Prime Minister and Finance Minister Cesar Enrique A. Virata; Former Energy Secretary Vicente S. Perez, Jr., president and chief executive officer of Altenergy Wind One Corporation; Ir. Dr. Sanjayan Velautham, executive director of the ASEAN Centre for Energy; Dr. Anbumozhi Venkatachalam, senior energy consultant at the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia; and Gregory Thorpe, foundation executive director of Oakley Greenwood Pty. Ltd.

The parallel sessions exhibited a wealth of potential solutions to produce and harness clean energy and to efficiently use it. Other studies explored the effects of sustainable energy on the local economy and the possible policies and mechanisms to maximize the benefits of sustainable energy.

UPLB Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr. and College of Economics and Management (CEM) Dean Isabelita Pabuayon both lauded the Conference’s initiative to discuss development issues in the ASEAN in their respective welcome remarks. They acknowledged ENERCON 2018 as a venue to create a focused and strategic direction in sustainable energy development in Southeast Asia.

Present during the Conference were Dr. Cielito Habito, former director-general of the National Economic Development Authority and professor of economics at the Ateneo de Manila University; Dr. Portia G. Lapitan and Dr. Crisanto A. Dorado, vice chancellors for academic affairs and administration, respectively; and Dr. Jose V. Camacho, Jr., dean of the Graduate School.

Also present were CEM’s Dr. Agham C. Cuevas, chair of DE; Dr. Salvador P. Catelo, director of the Institute of Cooperatives and Bioenterprise Development; and Rowena A. Dorado and Ma. Angeles O. Catelo, chair and co-chair of ENERCON 2018, respectively. (Jessa Jael S. Arana)

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