Published April 4, 2017, 10:00 PM By Myrna M. Velasco
If the renewable energy (RE) potential of the country would be fully harnessed, this can provide up to 23 percent of the country’s energy supply, according to the Abu Dhabi-based International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
This could be in addition to advancing goals of low carbon energy development – even in the midst of the country’s industrialization targets and a growing population base, the RE body has noted on its new report on “Renewables Readiness Assessment.”
IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin primarily stressed that “like many countries in the region, the Philippines faces a growing population and rising energy demand to power economic growth.”
But by fully utilizing its RE potential which could be immense across technologies – either in wind, solar, hydro, biomass and geothermal, it was noted that the Philippine RE sector “can play a key role in helping the country achieve greater energy security and address these challenges.”
At this stage, it is well known that the Philippine RE industry is already on its way to navigating a business terrain that will no longer be underpinned by the perceived punishing subsidies under the feed-in-tariff (FIT) system.
Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi has been forthright about that policy direction – and despite his pronouncements, investment proposals are still coming in droves especially in the solar sector.
The energy chief indicated that the country “has been exploring a variety of options to build an energy independent future supplied by sustainable, stable, secure, sufficient, accessible and reasonably-priced energy sources.”
He added that “in pursuit of this ultimate goal, the Philippines has stepped up its efforts in promoting the deployment of indigenous renewable energy over the past few years.”
Onward to year 2030, the Philippines is targeting to install up to 15,300 megawatts of RE capacity, three times the 2010 level at 5,348 megawatts.
But there are some deliverables yet in the country’s investment wish list – including the need to assess grid infrastructure “to allow the development of proactive energy planning and training.”
Another concern treads on “examining institutional capacity in the Philippine RE sector so as to identify skills and resource deficiencies and enable more effective capacity-building program.”
There is also a need to study “the potential for renewable electrification through mini- and micro-grids and develop policies and regulatory frameworks for attracting investment and private sector engagement.”