November 15, 2021

New RE plan seeks 35 percent share of power generation by 2030

The Philippines’ proposed National Renewable Energy Program (NREP) 2020-2040 is establishing a target of 35 percent share of renewable energy (RE) in the power generating mix by 2030 and 50 percent 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 stated that instead of expanding, the share of RE in the power generation mix has actually fallen.

She stated that in 2008, the year the Renewable Energy Act was passed, the share of RE was roughly 34 percent. Now it is down to 21 percent, or 21,609 gigawatt-hours (GWh), out of a total 101,756 GWh of power generated.

The government is trying to revert the share of RE to 35 percent by 2030 and 50 percent by 2040 under the amended NREP, Capongcol said.

The NREP offers the plan for meeting the country’s RE goals as required by the Renewable Energy Act of 2008.

Republic Act No. 9513, or the Renewable Energy Act, provides the foundation for the development, usage, and commercialization of RE sources, defined as resources that may be supplied periodically and are available indefinitely. These include biomass, solar, wind, geothermal, ocean energy, hydropower, and other new RE technologies.

The Act emphasizes the government’s resolve to accelerate the utilization of RE resources in the country to minimize harmful emissions and achieve economic development while protecting the health and environment.

The transition to RE from carbon-intensive energies has become even more imperative in light of the immense harm being caused by climate change and unchecked greenhouse gas emissions not just in the country but on a worldwide scale.

Capongcol, during the webinar, stated the draft NREP will be released soon. The new plan aspires to assist attain energy security, contribute to sustainable development, counter climate change, support capability building, and secure inclusive growth for the country.

To meet the targets under the amended NREP 2020-2040, she noted that while there have been a number of policies, initiatives, and programs that were designed and published since 2011, “this is not enough.”

“There are still a lot of improvements, a lot of new policies, emerging ones, that will encourage renewable energy development” to enable the country to reach its goals of self-sufficiency and cleaner energy,” she added.

She noted that the DOE now has unique initiatives that are looking at the potentials of hydrogen, fusion, offshore wind, tidal energy, and other technologies.

The DOE is also working on an enlarged solar rooftop program and the enhancement of solid waste management, while at the same time formulating a strategy on geothermal energy development.

Meanwhile, Jay Layug, president of Developers of Renewable Energy for Advancement, advocated further improvements in the sector, emphasizing the need in particular to update 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 added, noting out that many power facilities 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, the rigid process for offtake agreements, numerous requirements for permits and licenses, and a lack of integration in government support.

He also urged for the promotion of policy reform, particularly by identifying renewables as the preferred energy resource, to limit the importation of fossil fuel and sensitivity to price volatility.

His other proposals included enhancing public-private partnerships; developing a one-stop-shop for RE; streamlining the procedures for deployment of troops, vessels, machines, equipment spare parts, and materials; and resolving inter-agency coordination concerns.

In the same webinar by the Liveable Cities Challenge Philippines, British Ambassador to the Philippines Laure Beaufils, in her message stressed the need 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,” Beaufils said.

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