Under the proposed National Renewable Energy Program (NREP) 2020-2040, the Philippines is setting a target of 35% share of renewable energy (RE) in the power generation mix by 2030 and 50% share by 2040.
This was bared by Director Mylene C. Capongcol, OIC of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Renewable Energy Management Bureau, who in a recent online presentation acknowledged that instead of growing, the share of RE in the power generation mix has actually declined.
She noted that in 2008, the year the Renewable Energy Act was passed, the share of RE was about 34%. Now it is down to 21%, or 21,609 gigawatt hours (GWh), out of a total 101,756 GWh of power generated.
The government is looking to revert the share of RE to 35% by 2030 and 50% by 2040 under the updated NREP, Capongcol said.
The NREP sets the roadmap for achieving the Philippines’ RE goals as required by the Renewable Energy Act of 2008.
Republic Act No. 9513, or the Renewable Energy Act, provides the framework for the development, utilization, and commercialization of RE sources, defined as resources that can be replenished regularly and are available indefinitely. These include biomass, solar, wind, geothermal, ocean energy, hydropower and other emerging RE technologies.
The Act affirms the government’s commitment to accelerate the utilization of RE resources in the country to reduce harmful emissions and achieve economic development while protecting the health and environment.
The transition to RE from carbon-intensive energies has become even more urgent in light of the massive destruction being wrought by climate change and uncontrolled greenhouse gas emissions not just in the country but on a global scale.
This as more than 30,000 people from over 200 countries have been meeting in Scotland for the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as Conference of the Parties (COP26). At COP26, which started October 31 and ends November 12, 2021, the parties are expected to commit to enhanced ambition towards mitigating climate change.
Capongcol during the webinar said the proposed NREP will be released soon. The updated plan seeks to help attain energy security, contribute to sustainable development, counter climate change, provide capability building, and secure inclusive growth for the country.
To achieve the targets under the updated NREP 2020-2040, she said that while there have been a number of policies, initiatives and programs that were developed and issued since 2011, “this is not enough.”
“There are still a lot of improvements, a lot of new policies, emerging ones, that will support renewable energy development” to enable the country to meet its goals of self-sufficiency and cleaner energy, she said.
She added that the DOE currently has innovative programs that are looking at the potentials of hydrogen, fusion, offshore wind, tidal energy and other technologies.
The DOE is also working on an expanded solar rooftop program and the improvement of solid waste management, while at the same time drafting a policy on geothermal energy development.
For his part, Jay Layug, president of Developers of Renewable Energy for Advancement, sought further improvements in the sector, citing the need in particular to upgrade the power infrastructure for RE such as building more power plants and improving transmission lines and distribution facilities.
“Demand for power continues to grow and in the meantime supply is a problem,” he said, pointing out that many power plants in the country are at least 15 years old and starting to deteriorate.
To solve these issues, Layug said the national government and local government units must address the challenges to private sector investment, including restrictive government regulations, rigid process for offtake agreements, numerous requirements for permits and licenses, and a lack of integration in government support.
He also pressed for the pursuit of policy reform, particularly by declaring renewables as the preferred energy resource, to reduce importation of fossil fuel and vulnerability to price volatility.
His other recommendations included strengthening public-private partnerships; creating a one-stop shop for RE; simplifying the rules for deployment of personnel, vessels, machinery, equipment spare parts and materials; and resolving inter-agency coordination issues.
In the same webinar conducted by the Liveable Cities Challenge Philippines, British Ambassador to the Philippines Laure Beaufils in her message highlighted the importance of utilizing RE in the country.
“The transition to clean and renewable energy sources, such as geothermal, hydro, wind and solar, which are already abundant in the Philippines, will help end the dependence on expensive imported fuel and lower electricity costs especially for lower-income, climate-vulnerable Filipino families.”