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Anna Mae Yu Lamentillo

Jan 24, 2024

Seeing the light: Understanding the need for renewables

In a tropical country like the Philippines, it is a waste if we cannot fully utilize the benefits of the sun, including in supplying our energy needs.

It’s a welcome development that more Filipinos are now seeing the light on the need for more renewables. In a Pulse Asia Survey conducted on September last year, 85 percent of Filipinos agreed on the importance of increasing the use of renewable energy (RE) sources such as solar, wind, and hydropower.

The energy supply sector is the highest source of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, about 35 percent, according to the United Nations. Shifting to renewable energy sources is one way to significantly reduce these emissions and our overall dependence on fossil fuels.

In fact, the Philippine government is pushing for more renewables, with a target of having 35 percent renewables in the country’s energy mix by 2030, and further to 50 percent by 2040.

Based on the latest report from the Department of Energy (DOE), renewables make up 22 percent of the Philippines’ energy mix.

As of 2022 data from the DOE, the renewable energy share in the power mix is at 29.24 percent, or 8,264 megawatts (MW) out of a total of 28,258 MW installed on grid capacity. The RE mix is composed of 1,952 MW from geothermal, 3,745 MW from hydro, 611 MW from biomass, 427 MW from wind, and 1,530 MW from solar.

The Philippines has untapped renewables potential of at least 246,000 MW from various sources. If we are able to harness these, we will be able to achieve our targets as well as energy security that is clean, reliable, and affordable.

In fact, end-users can now tap renewable energy to power their establishments or even homes. The cost of solar photovoltaics has drastically decreased over the years. This has encouraged end-users, particularly industrial and commercial companies, to invest in solar rooftop systems to significantly reduce their energy consumption from the distribution utilities.

Households can also benefit from the net metering scheme enabled by the Renewable Energy Act. This means that they can sell their excess energy supply to their distribution utility.

Moreover, policy changes will also play a significant role in achieving our country’s RE targets.

With the RE sector now fully open to foreign ownership, the government sees more foreign investment on RE which will help meet our long-term climate targets.

The Board of Investments (BOI) is also providing more incentives to registered projects that will be supplying their own electricity by putting up their own RE facility. These self-financed energy efficiency projects (EEP) are entitled to the income tax holiday incentive as prescribed under the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Law and duty exemption on importation of capital equipment, raw materials and spare parts or accessories.

We hope to see more renewable energy investments and projects in the country, and less independence on coal and other fossil fuels.  By fully harnessing our renewable energy potential, we can show the world that even if we are highly vulnerable to climate change impacts, we can be a leader in climate resilience and sustainability efforts.

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