28 JULY 2011
Investment in renewable energy urged
MANILA, Philippines — An international conservation group Thursday reiterated the significance of investing in renewable energy (RE) in the Philippines to avert the impact of continuous increase in fuel prices.
A World Wide Fund for Nature-Philippines (WWF-Philippines) study called “PowerSwitch” showed that the country can develop 1,200 megawatts (MW) of geothermal, 2,308 MW of sustainable hydroenergy, 235 MW of biomass, and 7,404 MW of wind power capacities in the next 10 years to raise the share of indigenous renewables in the power mix to 50 percent.
WWF noted that in 2009, 29 percent of the Philippines’ power came from coal.
According to the Department of Energy's latest forecast, WWF cited that by 2012, a full 50 percent of the country’s power will be taken from coal.
It noted that the best way to deal with power crisis is to diversify power mix as a buffer to climate change and to the volatility of international fossil fuel prices.
“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,” WWF-International energy policy coordinator Rafael Senga explained.
“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, we should expect to pay even more in the coming years – unless we invest in indigenous renewable energy now,” he added.
Senga pointed out that one of the country’s few competitive advantages is its vast renewable energy resources.
“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, United States, Germany and South Korea,” he said.
“We can no longer sustain all our energy needs through traditional fossil-based sources. There are already RE technologies that are economically and financially viable,” Energy Secretary Rene Jose Almendras said.
“Diversifying our power mix with renewable energy is not only good for the environment – it makes perfect business sense as well. Renewable energy is absolutely vital in obtaining energy security and economic stability for the country. It also mitigates climate change effects,” WWF-Philippines climate change director lawyer Gia Ibay added.
In 2009, WWF launched The Coral Triangle and Climate Change: Ecosystems, People and Societies at Risk – a report based on a thorough consideration of the climate biology, economics and social characteristics of the region.
Read article source in Manila Bulletin, July 28, 2011