The harnessing and utilization of renewable energy remains a key strategy to provide energy supply for the country. Started in the late 1970s’s the country has actively pursued increasing power generation from geothermal and hydro resources has lessened the country’s dependency on imported and polluting non-renewable fossil fuels.
Some rural areas have created power independence by using renewable energy sources such as solar, micro-hydro, wind and biomass resources on a local scale. Successes on these fronts have initiated the wide-scale use of these technologies, expanding the electrification of remote and isolated areas of the archipelago.
It is the government’s policy to facilitate the energy sector’s transition to a sustainable system as an increasingly viable and competitive fuel option in a world too dependent on oil imports. This competitive advantage is driven by the rich availability of various clean and renewable energy resources all throughout the country, from hydroelectric, to solar, to wind and of course, geothermal.
Moreover, active and future-planned initiatives in the pursuit of this policy are directed towards the creation of a free market-based environment that encourages the investment and participation of the private sector, from both local and foreign entrants. Such a climate also calls for collaborative research and development and technology transfer protocols. Countries, companies or businesses that have made advances in the harness, generation and distribution of renewable energy sources will enjoy incentives for entering the power industry in the Philippines.
Back in 2033, the Philippines’ Department of Energy (DOE) projected that renewable energy shall provide up to 40 percent of the country’s primary energy requirements over the next ten years. Renewable energy is estimated to grow at an average annual rate of 2.4 percent. Results have validated these estimates and in 2007, our dependency on local renewable energy stood at 55.7%. While hydroelectric and geothermal remain to be significant sources of power in the Philippines, biofuel, solar, wind and micro-hydro are expected to increase their contribution to the renewable energy mix.
In an aggressive move to accelerate renewable energy research and development, the DOE has identified long-term goals: (1) to double renewable energy capacity by 2013 and (2) to increase non-power involvement of renewable energy to an equivalent of 10 million barrels of fuel oil in the next ten years. To achieve the vision of a sustainable energy system, the Philippine government has named four concrete renewable energy targets to meet in the next four years:
- Become the number one geothermal energy producer in the world;
- Be the number one wind energy producer in Southeast Asia;
- Double hydro capacity by 2013; and
- Expand contribution of biomass, solar and ocean by about 131 MW
Aside from the big cities in the country, there remains a large swath of rural areas where foreign investors from Switzerland can tap into by using renewable energy technologies. According to DOE targets, 90 percent of all rural households should have electricity by 2017. Already, some 1,500 barangays in the provinces of the Philippines are being targeted to be electrified using sustainable and local energy resources.
Of course, challenges remain to be overcome. If the competitive goals are to be met, fiscal and financial incentives for businesses must be improved and better applied. To address these barriers, the government is formulating initiatives to stimulate greater private-led investments in the sector, promote renewable energy technologies as competitive energy options.