President Tommy Remengesau, Jr. (right) is seated next to Senate President Hokkons Baules (left) during the leadership meeting in Palasia Hotel on January 11 where he announced that a petition signed by 5,000 Palauans to show support on the Power Purchase Agreement will be submitted to the Olbiil Era Kelulau (Palau National Congress) this week. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)

Five thousand Palauans had expressed support for the newly negotiated Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) between Palau Public Utilities Corporation and France-based company Engie EPS through a petition drive.

The petition, which is initiated by the office of the president, will be submitted to the Olbiil Era Kelulau (OEK), Palau’s national congress, this week, according to President Tommy Remengesau, Jr. who broke the news during the leadership meeting held at the Palasia Hotel on January 11.

The petition is seen as a move to counter the opposition of the Senate, who previously rejected a resolution that called for the approval of the agreement, due to several concerns.

People signed the petition that stated they believe that the “agreement negotiated by PPUC and endorsed by PEA (Palau Energy Administration) is by far the best deal available for Palau and will definitely bring about significant savings and economy to the people of Palau into the future while at the same time allowing us to achieve our national target of 45% renewable by 2025.”

“We, the undersigned citizens and customers of Palau Public Utilities Corporation (PPUC), hereby express our strong support for the newly negotiated Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) by the Palau Public Utilities Corporation (PPUC) and endorsed by the Palau Energy Administration (PEA) and urge the entire leadership of the Government of Palau to support and accept the Agreement in order to allow for the largest renewable energy project ever to land in the Republic to materialize for our benefit,” the petition reads.

The petition also urges for the leadership to support and accept the PPA at the earliest possible time.

PPA is the contract entered into by the PPUC and Engie EPS last year for the proposed microgrid project that is deemed as a means to help Palau achieve its goal of generating at least 45% of renewable energy by 2025 under the Paris Climate Agreement.

The leadership meeting ended last week still without a clear future for the PPA with President Remengesau asking the leaders where to move next amid the differences of opinion.

Meanwhile, Senate President Hokkons Baules reiterated the Senate’s stand on the issue saying, “If PPUC does its part, then everybody does their part. The position of the senate is we should follow the law because we do not want the public to blame us.”

The Senate previously questioned the lack of regulations on the side of the Palau Energy Administration, a young government agency that is established as a regulatory body for PPUC. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)