The Philippine government recently passed the Renewable
Energy Law in an effort to help spur the development of
renewable energy sources
renewable energy sources
the Philippines requires taking greater advantage of the nation's
renewable sources, including geothermal and solar, and using cleaner
burning fossil fuels like natural gas
a vital component of every country's economy, and reducing dependence
on foreign energy sources is an important goal for many governments.
The Philippines has made great strides in this area in the past
three decades, and is moving forward with several projects that
will further reduce the need to import energy.
As a country
with relatively small proven oil reserves and low oil production,
the Philippines is forced to seek sources of energy from other
areas. The inauguration of the Malampaya natural gas field in
2001 helped move the country towards a less expensive and more
domestic energy supply profile.
in local energy infrastructure, the Philippines has managed to
slash its dependence on foreign energy sources from 92% in 1973
to 40% now. That figure will fall even more in the near future,
as some ambitious projects begin producing even more energy locally.
Some of the
projects will use fossil fuels, such as natural gas, to increase
domestic energy production. Nevertheless, the countrys long-term
goal is to focus more and more on renewable sources to increase
local energy production, as the technology becomes more advanced
and less expensive.
technology and mass production, renewable energy is going to become
a reality, says Antonio Cailao, president and CEO of the
Philippine National Oil Company, or PNOC. I am very much
in love with solar energy because among all the sources of renewable
energy, it is the only renewable energy which is not site-specific.
The sun is in Spain, the sun is in Germany, the sun is the same
everywhere, and so that is why it is not site-specific.
has passed legislation in recent years to help spur the development
of renewable energy. One was the Renewable Energy Law, which identifies
major sources of emerging energy, such as geothermal, hydro, solar,
wind, ocean and biomass. Solar is a particularly interesting area,
as the country has abundant sun and an industrial base capable
of producing the semi-conductors and other components needed to
build solar farms.
goal is for the country to get 40% of its primary energy requirements
from renewable sources by the end of 2013. That objective is very
achievable, after getting as high as 35% in recent years with
good amounts of rain to power hydroelectric generation.
already has a very important source of renewable energy, from
geothermal generating plants. About 27% of electricity generated
in the Philippines comes from these plants, which use heat from
deep in the earth to generate steam and turn turbines, making
it the biggest user of wet-steam geothermal technology, and the
second-biggest producer on the planet of electricity using geothermal
energy, after the U.S.
Secretary of Energy
President and CEO of PNOC
At the Energy
Investment Forum last December held in Makati City, Secretary
of Energy Rene Almendras stated concerning renewable energies,
the Department of Energy (DoE) will take the lead, will
push and will make sure that things will happen. To everyone
working in the field of renewables, the DoE promises the highly
anticipated opportunities will soon materialize.
energy will in the long term be able to supply much of the countrys
power needs, but in the shorter and medium term the Philippines
has plans to use its natural gas resources to make its power sector
more efficient, less expensive, and less dependent on foreign
vision I believe in is that renewable energy will reach parity
and advance periodically compared with fossil fuels, says
Mr. Cailao. The plan the Department of Energy has is to
launch the gasification of the Philippines, which will be the
intermediate step/fuel before we move to renewable energy.
currently has one functioning gas field, called Malampaya. The
field is located about 310 miles west of Luzon Island and has
estimated reserves of as many as 3.7 trillion cubic feet of natural
gas, and 85 million barrels of condensate. The field supplies
three generating stations that between them provide 2,700 megawatts
of electricity for the island, out of 7,600 megawatts of total
generating capacity on Luzon.
of a gas pipeline network greatly limits the use of the indigenous
gas, but the government is planning to invest in the kind of infrastructure
needed to supply gas to much of the country. The first step of
the plan will be building the Batangas-Manila pipeline, known
as the BatMan project.
pipeline will go into the heart of Manila to service the industrial,
commercial, transport and retail sectors, and the generating plants,
explains Mr. Cailao. Can you imagine lowering the cost of
fuel by over 50% by having gas? It is a big boost to the economy,
and that is also income for the foreign investors who would like
to come in.
of a pipeline network will reduce the need for foreign energy
by another three percentage points, Mr. Cailao estimates. Using
more gas will have other benefits as well. Natural gas burns more
cleanly than oil, producing less greenhouse gases. Natural gas
is also cheaper than fuels such as diesel.
Even as gas
pipelines are extended around the country, the Filipino government
and private businesses will continue to invest in cheaper and
more efficient renewable energy, with the goal of eventually cutting
the need for energy imports to a bare minimum, a goal countries
around the world should share.