The Senate is close to approving the creation of the Philippine Energy Research and Policy Institute, the country’s first energy think tank that could bridge research and policy gaps in the energy sector.
As the original proponent of the PERPI, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said that energy is one of the most research-intensive fields within the public policy arena given its rapidly evolving technologies.
“I had the privilege of studying the best case practices of well-performing energy sectors in developed countries across the world. One element they had in common was the presence of academe-based energy institutes, which unfortunately we don’t have,” said Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Energy Committee.
“PERPI will be an independent, multidisciplinary, and collaborative institution that will serve as the country’s backbone for the sector’s innovation and progress”, Gatchalian added.
Gatchalian’s vision for PERPI was inspired by world-renowned institutes, such as the Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy of Stanford University, the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore at the National University of Singapore, and the Energy Institute at Haas Berkeley in the University of California Berkeley.
Gatchalian explained that PERPI will be a laboratory, an innovation incubator, and a sparring partner of the government energy policy apparatus, all in one.
Senate Bill 1296, which Gatchalian authored, mandates the establishment of the PERPI at the University of the Philippines and will be composed of scholars and energy sector professionals. The UP President will be given the authority to appoint the Executive Director based on the recommendation of the Executive Board.
The bill appropriates P200 million for the initial funding of the think tank. To fund PERPI’s research, a special account for energy research shall be established, which will recognize and accept grants, contributions, and donations for energy research, while PERPI’s operations shall be initially funded through a budget of one hundred million pesos.
“It is my sincere belief that the development of a stable, affordable, and sustainable energy supply will be critical to meeting the country’s ambitious long-term socio-economic goals. The research output of the PERPI will be essential to turning this vision into a reality,” Gatchalian said.