MANILA, Philippines – Harnessing solar power in the Philippines can decrease the country’s dependence on the increasing and volatile prices of fossil fuels as bulk of the country’s supply of crude and finished petroleum products come from the Middle East, a report developed by the GIZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology said.
Citing data from the Department of Energy, the report said that while the aspirational solar energy target set by the government is 1,528 megawatts, the potential may even be greater.
The DOE’s 2009 to 2030 Power Development Plan said the country’s energy consumption may reach 149,067 gigawatt-hours (Gwh) by 2030, from an estimated demand of 86,809 Gwh by 2018 and actual demand of 55,417 Gwh in 2008.
“Peak demand should hit 14,311 Gwh by 2018 and go up to 24,534 Gwh by 2030 from 2008’s 9,226 Gwh,” the report said.
As such, to ensure adequate power supply, additional capacity can come from renewable energy, particularly from solar power.
The National Renewable Energy Program said the country’s RE base should reach 15,304 MW by 2030, almost triple the current installed base, of which 10 percent will be attributed to solar energy.
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In the report, the GIZ said the installed base for solar can be increased and accelerated.
It said that under the so-called feed-in-tariff (FIT) rules, the Energy department needs to decide on how to continue the process after the target has been reached or after the time of the initial period of three years is over.
The FIT regime is a form of incentives for renewable energy players.
The FIT rate approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), the power regulator are as follows: P9.68 per kilowatt-hour for solar; P8.53 per kwh for wind, P6.63 per kwh for biomass and P5.90 per kwh for hydropower projects.
In the case of wind power projects, the Department of Energy expects 300 megawatts of power capacity by 2016 from a total of five wind power projects. Mario Marasigan, chief of the energy department’s renewable energy bureau, said there are two expected wind projects that are expected to come online by 2016.
This is in addition to the three wind farm projects earlier approved by the Department of Energy. Marasigan said there are many other renewable projects seeking the approval of the Energy department for commercial operations as he expressed optimism on the growth of the renewable energy industry in the country.