Remarks by Dr. Susan Brems, Mission Director, EPDP Conference 2016: Toward Inclusive and Sustainable Energy Development

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

[As Prepared]


Sec. Arsenio M. Balisacan, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary of the National Economic and Development Authority,Sec. Zenaida Y. Monsada of the Department of Energy,

Good morning! I am happy to join you here today and be a part of what I’m certain will be a dynamic and constructive discourse about vital issues in the energy sector.

I am here to represent the U.S. Embassy Manila’s United States Agency for Internatilonal Development, more commonly known as USAID. USAID is the principal arm of the United States Government that offers technical and financial assistance to partner countries, such as the Philippines, and the citizens of those countries. I bring you the greeting of the United States Ambassador to the Philippines, Mr. Philip Goldberg.

USAID is pleased to support the Government of the Philippines, through a grant to the UPEcon Foundation, to implement the Energy Policy Development Program. The program works to strengthen the country’s energy policies that will promote more affordable, reliable and environmentally-sound energy development. These are key elements to sustain the country’s growth trajectory.

It’s especially exciting to be here so soon after the successful climate change negotiations in Paris. Many countries, including the Philippines and the U.S., made strong commitments to reduce emissions. The vast majority of those reductions must come from improvements in the ways we produce, distribute and use energy.

We recognize that along with greater use of renewable energy, progress must also be made on policies that affect both conventional and newer sources of energy, and on complex topics such as pricing, regulatory mechanisms, electricity markets and project financing, among others.

Here in the Philippines, the progress we so urgently need in the energy sector, both to fuel economic development and to curb emissions, is largely dependent on getting the policies that govern these issues right. This is exactly what the Energy Policy Development Program, and this conference, are all about. We are glad to support the Philippine Government as it works to improve its capacity to undertake evidence-based energy policy formulation and implementation, and to develop private sector approaches to increase access to affordable and reliable power.

Thus, the theme of the EPDP Conference 2016, “Toward Inclusive and Sustainable Energy Development,” is both timely and critical, as it promotes knowledge, research, and best practices that can be used by policy makers, academics, and other stakeholders to design and implement economically sound energy policies that will result in more cost-effective, sustainable, and reliable service.

In closing, I’d like to share something that President Obama said in a speech he gave at the Paris climate change negotiations:

“Let’s reaffirm our commitment that resources will be there for countries willing to do their part to skip the dirty phase of development… Let’s show businesses and investors that the global economy is on a firm path toward a low-carbon future. If we put the right rules and incentives in place, we’ll unleash the creative power of our best scientists and engineers and entrepreneurs to deploy clean energy technologies and the new jobs and opportunities that they create all around the world.”

Best of luck to you, scholars from the Philippines and other countries, and participants from the public and private sectors, as you engage in what I am certain will be fruitful and enlightening discussions.

Issuing Country