Climate change is altering our way of life toward a more sustainable source of energy.
Several new and emerging technologies are now taking center stage in the Philippine energy sector that could fuel the country’s economic recovery post-pandemic.
These new energy technologies can help fill in the need for the 75,325 megawatts of additional generating capacity to meet the demand of the expanding economy by 2040 as envisioned by the Philippine Energy Plan 2018-2040.
The creation of the country’s research development institute on energy, for one, is seen to speed up the implementation of these new technologies and boost the country’s technical capacity.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy said the Philippines, is backing the establishment of an all-in-one institution that will focus on technical know-how to enable us to keep up with technological innovations, energy, and policy research.
“This a realization of our long-time goal of having an energy research and policy institute that will focus on on the latest scientific breakthroughs to improve the country’s energy sector,” says Gatchalian after President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act No. 11572, the law establishing the Philippine Energy Research and Policy Institute (PERPI).
Hydrogen for power generation
There is a growing global interest in hydrogen as a source of power generation. Green hydrogen, which refers to hydrogen produced with renewable electricity, is increasingly becoming a buzz world in the energy sector.
Early this year, The Department of Energy initiated studies related to hydrogen for power development.
“Another area that we are also looking into is the potential of harnessing hydrogen, considered the fuel of the future,”says Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.
The DOE in January signed a an agreement with Australian development company Star Scientific Ltd. and a similar deal in April with Tokyo-based Hydrogen Technology Inc. (HTI) to explore the use of hydrogen as a fuel for power generation.
Cusi expressed hope that HTI will be able to bring into the country its technology sooner so that the R&D activities can already begin.
“I had been wanting to bring the model here in the Philippines so that we can do the trial usage of the technology in one of the islands. I hope that with the signing of this MOU, the model can be immediately shipped,” Cusi said.
The DOE with support from the World Bank has launched the Philippine Offshore Wind Roadmap to unlock the country’s power potential of over 170,000 megawatts.
Offshore wind projects are situated in bodies of water, which have stronger wind potential than onshore projects.
“As the country actively pursues the energy transition, broadening our offshore wind prospects would help fast-track meeting our goal of attaining a 35-percent renewable energy share in our energy mix by the year 2030. This project is another key milestone for the energy sector, as we continue to deepen our ability to harness the country’s vast RE resources,” says Cusi.
In 2019, the DOE issued a circular providing for a framework for energy storage systems (ESS) in the electric power industry. It included the battery energy storage system (BESS), which is capable of storing electric energy electrochemically from which it is able to charge or discharge electricity.
Industry players such as San Miguel Corp., Aboitiz Power Corp. and AC Energy Corp. have taken the leap and are investing in BESS.
San Miguel Corp., through its power arm SMC Global Power Holdings Corp., is spending over $1 billion to simultaneously build 31 new battery energy storage facilities nationwide with a total rated capacity of 1,000 megawatts.
Aboitiz Power Corp., meanwhile, is developing 12 BESS projects with a total capacity of 248 MW that will be used for regulating and contingency reserves in the next 10 years.
The projects will serve as Aboitiz Power’s model for its future battery investments, as well as hybrid renewable energy projects.