The share of renewable energy in the Philippine power generation mix hit a new low of 21 percent last year, prompting the National Renewable Energy Board to call for a review of the program.
NREB chairperson Monalisa Dimalanta said during a virtual forum on Accelerating the Philippines’ Renewable Energy Transition: Emerging Policy Developments & Lessons Learned from Vietnam that capacity addition from RE generation was also way behind the target of 15,000 megawatts by 2030.
“When RE act was passed back in 2008, renewable energy already accounted for less than 40 percent, around 35 to 40 percent of our energy mix. So that was our starting point. We counted from 35 to 40 percent to further grow the share of renewable energy by the passage of the RE Act,” Dimalanta said.
Based on NREB figures, RE captured 25.64 percent of the generation mix in 2014, before it went down to 25.44 percent in 2015 and 24.21 percent in 2016.
The share of RE in the mix improved slightly to 24.57 percent in 2017 but again declined to 23.38 percent in 2018 before going down to 21 percent last year.
Additional capacity from RE from 2009 to 2019 reached 2,196.34 MW, of which the bulk came from solar, bringing the total capacity from RE to only 7,600 MW, below the 15,000 MW target by 2030.
“So from what we have in 2010, which was when the NREP [National Renewable Energy Program] was passed, 5,438 MW in capacity in 2010, the target was to triple that to 15,000 MW…allocated along the resources that has been identified by the act,” the official said.
“Apart from the capacity we have not realized, it’s the share in the mix that keeps on dwindling that makes us pause,” Dimalanta said.
Meanwhile, AC Energy Inc. chief executive Eric Francia said the Philippines should look at how to bring back the share of RE in the generation mix to 35 percent.
“We need to examine, what does it take to get back to 35 percent?” Francia said, while proposing that around 20,000 MW of renewable should be built in the next decade.
“The 20 gigawatts build out, on top of 7.4 GW of installed capacity that we have today, assumes a certain renewables mix that is dominated, we believe by solar,” he said.
He said around 15,000 MW of new solar capacity should be built, followed by wind with 3,000 MW, hydro with 1,000 MW and geothermal and biomass with 500 MW each.
Francia said solar now has the lowest levelized cost of electricity globally and is very competitive and has the flexibility in terms of size and location.
“It is relatively predictable. Intermittency can be addressed by storage. In the Philippine context, it produces at the right time of the day and the right time of the year,” he said.
Dimalanta said there should be a review of NREP which encompasses government’s programs to promote RE.
“We are looking at the Philippines requiring more than 45,000 MW of capacity by 2040, what portion should be taken by RE, and this to me is the compelling reason we need to be deliberate. We need to be more decisive in terms of allocating, or targeting the share of RE,” she said.
“This makes it to me imperative to update the NREP. The target is last year. We realize that NREP is 10 years old and it has not been updated. The costs have changed for some technologies. The projections for demand have changed so it really requires a lot of updating,” Dimalanta said.