Philippines raises minimum renewable energy capacity to 2.5% in power mix

The government announced an increase on the minimum amount of renewable energy supplied to investors and end-users from 1 per cent to 2.5 per cent, in a bid to ramp up the country’s goal to reach 35 per cent clean energy by 2030.

technician Burgos Wind and Solar Farm
A technician repairing an electrical pole at the Burgos Wind and Solar Farm, Ilocos Norte, Philippines. Image: Al Benavente/ADB

The Philippines has grown its renewable energy capacity in line with the government’s target to utilise 35 per cent clean power by the end of the decade, the government announced on Wednesday.

Under the country’s renewable energy portfolio standards, a policy mechanism that mandates electricity suppliers to source an agreed portion of their energy supply from eligible clean power, the minimum amount of green energy supplied to distribution utilities or direct buyers will increase from 1 per cent to 2.5 per cent by 2023, the department of energy said in a statement.

The current share of solar, wind, hydropower, geothermal and biomass energy in the power generation mix is at 22 per cent. 

“[The increase] will encourage more investors and end-users to develop and utilise domestic energy sources,” said Raphael Lotilla, department of energy secretary. “By increasing the annual percentage overtime, renewable energy would drive us on a path toward energy sustainability.”

As of June, a total of 998 renewable energy contracts with installed capacity of 5,460.59 MW have been awarded by the government. This generated around US$4.6 million in investment for the country. 

[The increase] will encourage more investors and end-users to develop and utilise domestic energy sources.

Raphael Lotilla, secretary, department of energy 

Energy Regulatory Commission chief Monalisa Dimalanta lauded the move as the electricity grid is being prepared in areas of the country dubbed as “competitive renewable energy zones”, identified to be rich in clean power potential.

The government commissioned a 2020 study by United States-based research institution National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) which found these 25 zones to have an estimated gross capacity of 152 gigawatts (GW) of new wind and solar photovoltaics. The zones also include an estimated 365 megawatts (MW) of geothermal, 375 MW of biomass, and over 650 GW of hydropower capacity distributed across Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. 

“This study already identifies the upgrades that the grid requires in order to take on all this additional capacity that potentially can be developed and can supply the system,” said Dimalanta in a panel discussion at the Asian Development Bank’s 55th annual general meeting.

“I’m confident that in the next few months, we will see movement. This is key because we are not just talking about the market that will be created for more renewable energy capacities, but also preparing the grid to accept all of this extra capacity,” she said. 

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