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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Economic cha-cha to boost jobs in RE sector—DOE

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The Department of Energy (DOE) expressed support for the lifting of economic restrictions in the 1987 Constitution as 100-percent foreign ownership in the renewable energy (RE) industry has resulted in increased job generation.

DOE undersecretary Sharon Garin said they are looking at 1.5 million job openings for 2023 new contracts alone. “[The] estimated direct and indirect job generation for 2023 new contracts based on potential capacity is at least 1.5 million to positions,” she said.

Garin made the statement during the third day of the hearing on Resolution of Both Houses No. 7 at the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

She said around 357,459 individuals were employed in the RE sector in 2022, and using this figure, it is anticipated that there will be 10 direct jobs and 30 indirect jobs generated per megawatt (MW).

The DOE official noted the additional jobs would come from foreign investments in ports, mining—specifically in Vanadium, a critical component of steel alloys employed in space vehicles, nuclear reactors, aircraft carriers, and various other applications—and transmission lines.

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“Other than investments in the development of [RE], other components that will come in because of the trillions of investments from foreign investors is port development. We will need at least 10 new ports in order to cater to offshore wind projects,” Garin said.

“In mining, the battery components include rare earth metals from our indigenous resources, including Vanadium and Scandium (an aluminum-scandium alloy used in Russian MIG fighter planes, high-end bicycle frames, and baseball bats). The additional transmission lines, including a newly proposed smart green grid, will require more copper,” she added.

Garin said various foreign firms have already explored manufacturing opportunities in the Philippines, seeking sites to manufacture turbines and semiconductor controllers, with the goal of locally producing all manufacturing components, including plates, turbines, and towers.

She said they witnessed a surge in investment applications after allowing 100-percent foreign ownership in RE investments, including proposals for offshore wind and floating solar RE systems.

DOE approved 275 service contract applications for 39,000 gigawatts (GW) capacity with potential investment value of about P8 trillion.

Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) became the first foreign investor to be granted site exclusivity in the Philippines to develop a renewable energy project a few months after the implementing rules and regulations on RE were amended. It also became the first 100 percent foreign-owned company to be awarded a service contract in the country.

Garin disclosed that CIP is investing $5-billion to develop three offshore wind energy projects in the Philippines with potential capacity of 2,000 MW or 2GW. These are distributed to the provinces of Camarines Norte and Sur (1,000 MW), Northern Samar (650MW), and Pangasinan and La Union (350MW).

“It will create 4,500 jobs, generate enough power to supply one million households, and offset 2.9 million tons of CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions per year,” the DOE official said.

Garin also cited the Triconti ECC partnership, a Swiss-German-Filipino joint venture developing 1.6 GW of offshore wind capacity in Luzon and Visayas, potentially creating 3,600 direct and indirect jobs.

Triconti is engaged in two offshore wind power projects in Guimaras with an initial investment of P221 billion and a total target capacity of 1.2 GW.

Garin said the Philippines ranked as the fourth most attractive country for green energy investment among 110 countries and further liberalization of the Philippine economy could enhance the country’s ranking.

She said liberalizing the economy will result in significant social and economic impacts, including technology transfer, human capacity building, and increased financing.

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