Unlocking the Philippines’ full renewable energy potential can help it meet its growing energy demand, pursue low-carbon development, and address climate change, a report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) released last week concluded.
“Renewables Readiness Assessment: Philippines” noted that the Philippines has “stepped up action” to include more renewable energy in its energy mix, and identified key actions for the country to accelerate renewable energy deployment.
“Like many countries in its region, the Philippines faces a growing population and rising energy demand to power economic growth. The archipelago is also frequently exposed to tropical storms and natural disasters that affect its energy structure. At the same time, the more than 7,000 islands hold great renewable energy potential that includes solar, wind, hydro, bioenergy, and geothermal resources. Renewable energy can play a key role in helping the country achieve greater energy security and address these challenges,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin.
In a statement included in the report, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said, “The Philippines 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. In pursuit of this ultimate goal, the Philippines has stepped up its efforts in promoting the deployment of indigenous renewables energy over the past few years.”
In 2011 the Philippines set an ambitious renewable energy target of 15.3 gigawatts (GW) by 2030, which was nearly triple the 5,438 megawatts (MW), most of it hydro power, available in 2010. The 23 percent target identified by the IRENA report is the target set by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which hopes to reach that benchmark as a regional average by 2025.
The IRENA report put forward a number of options and concrete measures to accelerate the deployment of renewables and to strengthen the country’s renewable energy policy, and regulatory and institutional framework. These recommendations included raising public awareness of renewable energy solutions to ensure sustained political commitment; assessing the country’s grid infrastructure to allow the development of proactive energy planning and training; examining institutional capacity in the Philippine renewable energy sector so as to identify skills and resource deficiencies and enable more effective capacity-building programs; and studying the potential for renewable electrification through mini- and microgrids, and develop policies and regulatory frameworks for attracting investment and private sector engagement.
IRENA is a multinational organization of 149 individual countries and the European Union, and is “mandated to be the global hub for renewable energy cooperation.” An additional 27 countries are in the process of joining the group as well. IRENA promotes the widespread adoption and sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy, in the pursuit of sustainable development, energy access, energy security and low-carbon economic growth and prosperity.