Santos to OGM: Look for incentives to support use of renewable energy


Teresita A. Santos

With fuel on Rota now costing over $8 a gallon and still continuing to increase and with steadily

increasing cost of electricity for its residents, Sen. Teresita A. Santos (Ind-Rota) is urging the CNMI Office of Grants Management and State Clearinghouse to look for grants and other financial incentives to support the development and use of renewable energy on Rota.

In her letter to OGM administrator Epiphanio E. Cabrera Jr. last Friday, Santos said that renewable energy can free the people of Rota from depending on fossil fuels and help decrease their costs.

The senator said the government should ramp up its investment in clean energy generation and storage as a long-term solution.

“This is the best way to avoid future energy price spikes and address energy poverty challenges,” she said.

As short term, Santos said, the government, which has greatly been affected by the energy price hikes, will need to take measures to assist vulnerable households. She said this can be done by directly providing money to these households to help with their bills and investing in energy efficiency to reduce the energy burden that consumers shoulder.

Electricity, natural gas, and oil prices have risen globally in recent months, causing hardship for many people around the world. After Russia invaded Ukraine, energy prices spiked.

Santos said U.S. crude oil prices reached as high as $130 on March 6, the highest since July 2008. A week later, U.S. gasoline prices hit a record high price of $4.33 per gallon.

The senator said higher and more volatile energy prices will be a catalyst for individual and global efforts to decarbonize energy grids, which is critical for meeting climate change goals.

“Just being exposed to this higher price volatility has made many of our people think about alternatives,” she said.

Santos said renewable energy is also becoming more attractive as a way to protect the CNMI’s fragile economy from the swings of energy prices due to geopolitical changes.

She said one advantage of renewable energy is that power prices are generally stable. Santos said once solar and wind farms are built, all they need is the sun and the wind.

In contrast, the senator said, electricity from gas or coal requires a continuous fuel supply, which is vulnerable to disruptions in production and transport.

She said for residential or commercial energy users, investing in renewable energy, energy efficiency or other climate-friendly technologies can be a buffer against the market forces that affect fossil fuels.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com
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