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EU to seek proposals for innovative energy projects

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PHILSTAR

THE European Union (EU) said it will seek new proposals for “pro-poor and climate-resilient innovative energy solutions” for the Philippines that will take up about €10 million of funding it has available for such projects.

“Before the end of this year, we will launch a new call for the remaining €10 million and we will sign a contract before June or July of 2018,” said Willy Hick, cooperation section program manager from the EU’s Philippine delegation.

“The calls altogether (are worth) €21 million. We will award and sign the contracts for €11 million before the end of this year,” he said on the sidelines of a press conference ahead of the 4th Energy Smart Philippines conference on Oct. 26, which the EU is co-funding.

The funding is part of the P3-billion Access to Sustainable Energy Programme (ASEP), which is a joint undertaking of the European Union and the Philippine Department of Energy (DoE). 

Launched in 2014, the grant aims to help the government meet its rural electrification targets through renewable energy and the promotion of energy efficiency.

In euros, the grant is broken down as €7.3 million for technical assistance and capacity-building; €29 million as investment support administered by the World Bank; and €21 million for funding assistance, for which the EU sought project proposals.

“We will revise the criteria,” Mr. Hick said. “We will take advantage of the lessons learned from the previous one, maybe make it a little more open, more straightforward.”

Mads Christensen, ASEP team leader, said the funding for the technical assistance is a long-term effort in which his group of experts interact with the DoE staff. He said of the total grant, much has been spent on this component.

“Although we’re one and a half years into the project, not much of the money for the investment support and the actual equipment have been spent. What has been spent most is the allocation for the technical assistance where we have a team of permanent experts sitting in the [DoE],” he said.

Mr. Hick said many of the applicants during the first call for proposals had not been selected for not meeting the “administrative criteria.”

“Most of the applicants were not successful because for one reason or another they failed to follow those administrative requirements. So now they have learned. Next time, I’m sure they will be successful because they have good ideas,” he said.

He advised would-be project proponents to read the instructions well.

“So read well the guidelines, follow the checklist, make sure all the documents are there. If you have a good idea it will very likely be selected,” he said.

Guenter Taus, president of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, said aside from the programs, the ASEP funding has also provided jobs.

Mr. Taus said he also expects the Energy Smart Philippines conference to create more jobs as about 40 European companies will be coming over to explore partnerships and business development with local counterparts. — Victor V. Saulon

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