PH going greener in energy use

THE Department of Energy has awarded 41 renewable energy service contracts in the second half of 2022 in a bid to reduce the country’s reliance on fossil fuels.

This will help the country meet its target to increase the renewable energy (RE) share in the country’s power generation mix from the current 22 percent to 35 percent by 2030 and 50 percent by 2040.

In a statement, the Department of Energy (DOE) said the 41 RE contracts awarded from July 1 to Dec. 14, 2022 had a potential capacity of 9.2 gigawatts (GW), of which some 6.2 GW would come from offshore wind service contracts.

There has been a global push to reduce the use of fossil fuels, which include coal, petroleum, heavy oils and natural gas--the byproduct of whose combustion is carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that causes global warming and climate change.

The Philippines also imports much of its supply of fossil fuels, making it vulnerable to foreign exchange fluctuations and geopolitics such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year that continues to this day.

In contrast, indigenous sources of energy, such as the wind, sun and ocean water are seen as more sustainable forms of energy that could help the Philippines attain energy security.

The DOE said it had taken a number of measures to encourage more investors to develop and use renewable energy.

These include increasing the annual percentage increment for participants of the Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) for on-grid areas from one percent to 2.52 percent beginning 2023 to enable the country to meet the RE target of over 50 percent of total power generation mix by 2040, as well as starting preferential dispatch of RE-generating units in the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market.

The RPS rules obligate participants to source or produce a minimum RE percentage of their electricity requirements from eligible RE resources.

The DOE said it had also amended the implementing rules and regulations of the Renewable Energy Act of 2008 to increase the foreign ownership of RE projects from 40 percent to 100 percent.

In its push for the use of cleaner energy, the DOE said it is looking at new and emerging renewable energy technologies such as offshore wind, waste-to-energy, an expanded rooftop solar program, as well as ocean and tidal stream energy.

In line with this, it will work with the Energy Regulatory Commission to develop the policy and framework for such technologies.

Under the Philippine Energy Plan (PEP) 2020-2040, renewable energy would compose 35 percent of the energy generation mix by 2030, with solar energy making up 15 percent of total power generation, followed by hydro power at 14 percent, geothermal energy at 4.4 percent, wind at 1.4 percent and biomass at less than one percent.

Natural gas would overtake coal as the top fuel for power generation, increasing its share from 20 percent in 2020 to 40 percent, because natural gas can support the higher penetration of renewables in the generation mix.

The share of coal in the total power generation mix would drop to 24.6 percent in 2040 from 57 percent in 2020.

Natural gas, which is also a fossil fuel, is seen as a transition fuel under the PEP’s Clean Energy Scenario.

The use of clean energy and move to a low-carbon future is also in line with the country’s commitment to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 7, which targets increasing substantially by 2030 the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.