Win Tayong Lahat

WIN sa balita

Senator Gatchalian: land conversion moratorium detrimental to energy supply

A newly-constructed solar power plant occupies a large parcel of land amidst terraced rice fields of Bulacan. Senator Win Gatchalian has called on the government to reconsider its morato​rium on conversion of agricultural land use to accommodate an influx of renewable energy investors in the country. (Photo by Mark Cayabyab)

Senator Win Gatchalian urged the Duterte administration to reconsider its plan to impose a two-year moratorium on the conversion of agricultural lands for non-agricultural purposes, explaining that the move would hamper the construction of much-needed energy generation projects amid the country’s tightening energy supply.

“The Department of Agrarian Reform’s proposed conversion ban would be detrimental to the stability and sustainability of our country’s energy supply,” said Gatchalian, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy.

Gatchalian noted that power plants and other energy generation projects take up substantial amounts of land, many of which are built on converted agricultural lands.

According to Gatchalian, the moratorium would be particularly harmful to the renewable energy sector because certain types of renewable energy projects require significantly larger areas of land to produce the same amount of energy as conventional coal and oil plants.

As an example, Gatchalian noted that solar energy farms need at least one hectare worth of solar panels to produce 1 megawatt of electricity. 

“The moratorium would severely impede our country’s ability to meet future energy demand by bringing the construction of new energy generation projects to a standstill. The economic consequences of continuing instability in our energy supply is something we simply cannot afford,” said Gatchalian.