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25 April 2010

Philippines: Use of renewable energy to reach 40% of power generation

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The use of renewable-energy sources is expected to be close to half of developing countries’ power-generation mix, Dr. Xiaodong Wang, World Bank (WB) senior energy specialist for East Asia and Pacific region, was quoted by local daily Business Mirror as telling reporters.

She said the World Bank expects renewable energy to account for 40 percent of the power-generation mix up to 2030.

“For the Philippines, we also expect it to reach 40 percent of its generation mix by 2030,” said Wang, adding that clean-energy technologies—which includes renewable energy and nuclear—will account for 50 percent in a regional basis.

Wang noted WB’s expectations also took into consideration the technical limitations.

In geothermal, for instance, Wang said WB doesn’t know if there will be more steam after reaching 3 gigawatts. She added that hydroelectric power plants are also bound to face technical limitations.

“Most of the renewable-energy projects we see will be mostly based hydro and geothermal,” Wang said.

She also noted that they did not include solar-based energy in their 40 percent assumptions.

“Solar is the only one that has no technical limits, unlike hydro and geothermal. But since our model is to have the least cost, then solar is beyond our model. So we didn’t put in much solar in the model as it will shoot up the cost,” said Wang.

In September last year, Energy Assistant Secretary Mario Marasigan said the government’s immediate target is to attain its 60-percent energy self-sufficiency. “We believe that renewable energy will play a big role in meeting our targets,” he said.

To date, according to Marasigan, renewable energy accounts for 43 percent of the country’s energy mix. “And we’re expecting it would rise to 50 percent or half of the government’s 60-percent energy self-sufficiency program,” he added.

Marasigan also noted the Department of Energy (DOE) targets to reduce consumption by a low of 10 percent and a high of 15 percent through energy efficiency.

“At 50 percent of the self-sufficiency program, it will be the biggest contribution renewable energy can provide in the next 10 years. It will even result in the doubling of renewable-energy capacities to more than 10,000 megawatts [MW] by 2020 from just 5,500 MW today,” said Marasigan.

The energy assistant secretary noted that the government is just 2 percentage points away from the 60-percent target, with the country being 58-percent energy self-sufficient.

Marasigan said renewable energy accounts for 43 percent, which include the country’s hydroelectric power plants, geothermal power plants, wind farms, and even biomass power plants not only for power generation but also for commercial application and specific purposes.

Marasigan cited that sugar mills are using bagasse for power and heat requirement, while some cement factories have converted some of their power requirement from rice husks to rice hulls.

“The greater concern is in the long term, and for us in the DOE, the biggest challenge is how to maintain the 60-percent energy self-sufficiency in the next 20 years. And with vertical constructions all over the urban areas, each construction,whether residential or commercial, would require at least 1 to 2 MW of active power,” Marasigan said.


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