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WWF-Philippines call for more renewable energy in Mindanao

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-Philippines) is pushing for the diversification of the power generation mix in Mindanao to include more renewable energy sources.

In a statement, WWF said the increased use of renewable energy sources in Mindanao would help ease the power supply shortage, which has been causing rotating brownouts on the island throughout the year.

WWF pointed out that a diversified power mix would serve as a buffer to the adverse effects of climate change and to the volatility of international fossil fuel prices. This would likewise insulate “Filipino consumers from the increasing prices of oil and coal while enhancing its energy independence and dramatically reducing carbon emissions,” it added.

“The Philippines has one of the highest power rates in Asia, mainly because of inefficiencies in the power sector and increasing reliance on imported fossil fuels,” noted WWF-International energy policy coordinator Rafael Senga.

Senga explained that most of the increases in our power rates were caused by hikes in generation cost. With fossil fuel prices continually on the rise due to dwindling supplies and increasing demand, the country should expect to pay even more in the coming years—if it would not invest in indigenous renewable energy now.

“The Philippines is a fossil fuel-poor country and investing in renewable energy shields us from the volatility of the fossil fuel market. It also positions us to take advantage of the fast-growing renewable energy market. It is no coincidence that some of the biggest investors in renewable energy are also the most globally competitive economies—China, the US, Germany and South Korea,” Senga noted.

According to WWF’s PowerSwitch study, the Philippines can further develop 1,200 megawatts of geothermal power; 2308 MW of sustainable hydro; 235 MW of biomass; and 7404 MW of wind power capacities over the next 10 years. This will raise the share of indigenous renewable energy sources in the Philippine power mix up to 50 percent.

Based on the targets of the Department of Energy, the Philippine government plans to increase the use of renewable energy by threefold over the next 20 years, as clean energy is now being seen as a another way to secure the country’s energy supply.

Specifically, the Philippines will target to increase RE-based power capacity to over 15,200 megawatts in installed capacity. This target will allow the country to have a power mix in which RE resources will account for over 50 percent. As of the end of 2010, total RE generation stood at 26.3 percent.

These goals set under the National Renewable Energy Program can be achieved, given that the country has abundant renewable energy sources, with various estimates ranging from 200,000 MW to as high as 276,000 MW in potential capacity. These resources included biomass, geothermal, solar, hydro, ocean and wind.

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