With an abundance of alternative, renewable energy sources such as wind and the sun, there really is no reason that the Philippines cannot be at the forefront of a renewable energy movement. We have sufficient resources that can be harnessed to produce stable power needed to electrify homes and fuel businesses. While we still have a long way to go, we are encouraged by the fact that the renewable energy sector has seen tremendous growth in the last four years.
The Burgos Wind Farm, for instance, a 150-megawatt new power plant that commenced operations in November 2014. Touted as one of the biggest wind farms in Southeast Asia, it is projected to not just provide 370 gigawatt-hours of electricity, which would power approximately two million households but could also displace an estimated 200,000 tons of carbon emissions annually.
The San Carlos Energy Inc. (SaCaSol) successfully connected the first 22 MW of its solar plant in Negros in the southern Philippines in May last year and another 30 MW are under construction.
According to the company, the SaCaSol plant is expected to provide approximately 31,610,473 kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity annually to the Visayas Grid, which is currently suffering from brownouts and low voltage problems.
Then there are the solar panels being installed on the roof of the country’s biggest malls.
The Philippines may have been slow in adopting renewable energy, but it has been catching up. In fact, there is a goal to make renewable energy account for 50% of the total energy mix by the year 2030, when demand for energy is forecast to exceed 30,000MW.
The question is, is it catching up fast enough? With the Philippine Department of Energy approving a total of 616 renewable energy projects last year, we can look forward to a cleaner energy infrastructure. Whether these will be enough to fulfill the 50% by 2030 objective is not certain, but at the very least, we know that progress is being made.