Job potential in renewable energy


GREENPEACE studies on renewable energy have produced some interesting facts. The first and most important one is that renewable energy policies will lead to employment opportunities.

Secondly, it will increase the consumer’s savings and income, and thirdly, it will have positive effects on the economy too.

In the Greenpeace website are some very encouraging estimates. According to them as many as 2.3 to 3.5 million people may be working in renewable energy globally.

By 2030 we could see 6.3 million jobs created in renewable energy.

Renewable energy creates four times more jobs than oil.

In the Philippines, solar entrepreneurs say that for each 10MW plant in the country, they hire 1000 people during construction for 6 months, and 100 people full time.

The projected green jobs generation from 7.828MW RE projects for development is equivalent to about 62,625 jobs.

The Greenpeace estimates clearly indicate that aggressively promoting renewable technology development can only help economic growth and net job creation. And the stronger the government’s RE policy, the greater the economic reward.

According to Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla, the Philippines could emerge as the most aggressive country in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) region when it comes to RE development.

Petilla said the country already gets about 400 megawatts (MW) from wind; 50 MW from solar; and over 100 MW hydro and biomass.

He noted RE will still be a strong player, amid the few bottlenecks, such as the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) not ready to connect the RE projects to the power grid.

The DOE has presently endorsed to the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) a total FIT capacity of 304.05 MW from various types of RE.

The feed-in tariff (FIT) system of the government is a form of incentives to renewable energy players. Feed-in tariffs offer cost-based compensation to renewable energy players.

The Philippines’s National Renewable Energy Program, under the RE law of 2008, targets to install 15,304 MW of installed renewable capacity by 2030.

Renewable energy in the country will get a big boost once the ERC certifies the eligibility of RE projects for the FIT system, which will help ease the anticipated power crisis in summer 2015.

The DOE formally announced the projects that had been granted certificates of endorsement (COEs) for FIT incentives – set for final concurrence and approval of the ERC.

The Energy Development Corporation of the Lopez group cornered FIT incentives for 150 megawatts of its two-phased Burgos wind plant; while the Ayala-led firms cornered incentives for the 18.9MW Bangui wind plant expansion and the 81MW Caparispisan wind project undertaken via corporate vehicle North Luzon Renewable Energy Corporation.

In a statement to the media, the DOE has noted that it “already issued COEs to five (5) biomass; three (3) hydro; two (2) solar; and four (4) wind projects” for a total FIT-backed capacity of 304.051MW.

For solar, the projects bestowed with certificates of endorsement for FIT are the two phases undertaken by San Carlos Solar Energy Inc. with 13MW (Phase 1) and 9.0MW (Phase 2) capacities.

Hydro technology, which was granted by the energy department an installation cap of 200MW, also yielded negligible capacity outcomes – for just a total of 12.6MW currently.

The hydro FIT beneficiaries are the 3.8MWIrisan and 7.0MW Tudaya projects of Hedcor Inc. of the Aboitiz group; and the 1.8MW hydropower development of Smith Bell Mini Hydro Corporation.

Biomass was similarly given a “big room” for FIT incentives, but the turnout was still not as massive as anticipated.

Those endorsed for FIT incentives, at this point, are the 3.0MW project of Green Future Innovations Inc., 2.175MW Montalban Methane Power Corporation; 0.876MW Pangea Green Energy Philippines Inc.; 3.60MW project of Lucky PPH International Inc.; and 9.9MW San Jose City I Power Corporation.

The FIT charges set per technology are: P8.53 per kilowatt hour for wind; P9.68 per kWh for solar; P5.90 per kWh for hydro; and P6.63 per kWh for biomass.

The feared power crisis in 2015 seems imminent, as a number of power plants in Luzon are scheduled for maintenance shutdowns and forced outages from January to July, with the most critical period being in March.

This is why the ERC should not dilly dally with its issuance of the COCs. Regulatory squabbling has delayed the implementation of the renewable energy law and the FIT system long enough.

Remember this law was passed way back in 2008 and yet it is only in the last couple of years that big renewable projects have been given the government’s go-signal for development.

Again, adopting RE technologies and RE-friendly policies will not only help cut down the use of fossil fuel and help fight climate change but also have the potential to create more jobs and other economic benefits, like the taxes local governments hosting RE projects can collect and use for their own development.


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1 Comment

  1. Mr. Herrera, perhaps you should look behind the numbers before you get so excited. Both Germany and Great Britain have jumped on the “renewable” bandwagon. Electric rates are skyrocketing in both countries. Great Britain has shut all four of their aluminum smelting plants because of the energy costs. Both countries have many companies looking for offshore manufacturing locations. Sorry Philippines, your rates are too high and power in unreliable. “Renewable” has never been called reliable. The sun does not shine 24/7 nor does the wind blow 24/7. Wind turbines need power to operate. If there is a typhoon in the Philippines near a wind farm and the power is cut, you can kiss the whole farm goodbye. If you get 25-30% of the rated power from a wind turbine over a year’s time, you are doing well. Solar is just as bad. Subsidies raise prices and are the only reason these projects are built. The Philippine grid is a mess and would only become even more unbalanced. Yes, Greenpeace, the wonderful group that does not like GMO’s like Golden Rice that will save the eyesight and improve the health of thousands of Philippine children. They have their own agenda. The Philippine people are not important to them. If you wish to keep the poor, poor, then by all means keep power prices high. Don’t you feel a bit ashamed that 8-10% of the population has to work outside of your country because of lack of jobs? The Philippine people are a great people. Why not allow them to have a great life? It is always a good idea to look under the covers before jumping into bed.