28 JULY 2011
Philippines seen as renewable energy hub
LAHUG, CEBU CITY: BESIDES a cleaner environment and lower fuel import bills, the Philippines also stand to gain from improved know-how in renewable energy once green power projects kick in, according to an official of First Gen Corp.
On the sidelines of the Philippine Energy Efficiency Forum, Aloysius Santos, First Gen. vice president, said that developing renewable energy projects now would help make the country a hub for renewable energy expertise in the future.
“What you get by installing now, you get the local capability. In solar, for instance, you need people to know how to install in roofs and you need people to set-up companies who will source and make the brackets, who will install them, you need to set up the net metering for the smaller systems,” he said.
Compared with conventional power plants, renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, run-of-river hydro, biomass and ocean energy have limited markets because of intermittent power generation and higher investment costs. As such, the development of such projects in the country have largely been stunted in the past.
Although improvements in technology have allowed costs of putting up green power plants to decrease over time, the First Gen official said that the country would also need to invest in improving technical expertise.
“And that takes years, so by going in now you build that capability in order to roll out the system to a wider market. You can wait until it’s very low, but from that time there is capacity building that’s needed,” Santos added.
Earlier, Mario Marasigan, Department of Energy (DOE) director, said that the Philippines can draw additional investments once it fully develops its renewable energy sources.
“One of the visions we’re working on, if we develop the resources then we will be able to demonstrate the technologies. If it works well, then the market will be there, because many would also want to develop,” he said.
Based on the DOE renewable energy registration and accreditation report, applications for biomass, geothermal, hydropower, ocean, solar and wind power projects with a total potential generating capacity of nearly 6,000 megawatts have yet to be approved.
The pending contracts before the DOE is on top of the contracts it approved since the passage of the Renewable Energy Act of 2008, which was crafted to spur the development of such projects.
The approved projects have a 3,000-megawatt combined potential generating capacity.
Read article source in The Manila Times, July 28, 2011