HYDROTHERMAL energy is one option Mindanao can resort to as a way to address electricity shortage, Energy Undersecretary Mary Rose Crisostomo said.

At the Philippine Economic Briefing in Cebu last Monday, Crisostomo said regions in the country that are severely hit by El Niño have been using hydrothermal energy to fill power demand.

El Niño, a weather phenomenon characterized by very warm temperature and little rainfall or none at all, has hurt the generation and usage of power. Mindanao has been having rotational brownouts due to low power supply.

Click here for Election 2010 updates

The Department of Energy (DOE) is looking for alternatives such as renewable energy that would develop biomass, geothermal, solar, hydropower, ocean and wind energy resources.

DOE has entered into service contracts with 163 providers and is still reviewing 230 applications.

The government has expanded electricity access to 5,933 barangays and has renewed interest in coal, oil and gas explorations. It also introduced biofuels for transport through the enactment of the Biofuels Act.

“The Philippines is today in a much better place than nine years ago when we were heavily reliant on external and unsustainable sources of energy,” Crisostomo said.

About 99.5 percent of barangays have been electrified by last year.

Crisostomo said the privatization of the power sector will pave the way for a more modernized and competitive power sector, which in turn will support economic growth in the Philippines. (RBF)