Over 1,300 renewable energy contracts with 138 GW capacity awarded

ILOILO. Department of Energy Undersecretary Rowena Cristina Guevara answers questions from the media during the 16th Media Seminar hosted by the US Embassy Manila in Iloilo City on July 8, 2024.
ILOILO. Department of Energy Undersecretary Rowena Cristina Guevara answers questions from the media during the 16th Media Seminar hosted by the US Embassy Manila in Iloilo City on July 8, 2024. Photo by Laureen Mondoñedo

MORE than 1,300 renewable energy (RE) contracts with a potential capacity of around 138 gigawatts (GW) have been awarded as of March 2024, said a Department of Energy (DOE) official on Monday, July 8, 2024.

Dr. Rowena Cristina Guevara, undersecretary of the DOE, said during the 16th Media Seminar hosted by the US Embassy in Iloilo City that 5.8 GW of this 138 GW potential capacity had already been realized as of December 2023.

“The most potential capacities are from wind, solar and hydro,” she added.

For hydropower energy, the DOE had awarded a total of 428 projects, with 12,702 megawatts (MW) potential capacity and 1,193 MW installed capacity, while there were nine awarded projects with 34 MW potential capacity for ocean energy.

The DOE also awarded 37 MW projects for geothermal energy and these projects had a potential capacity of 1,003 MW and installed capacity of 1,952 MW.

Wind energy had 276 contracts with 91,734 MW potential capacity and 443 MW installed capacity; solar had 503 with 32,367 MWp (megawatt peak) potential capacity and 1,449 MWp installed capacity; and biomass had 76 projects with 207 MW potential capacity and 765 MW installed capacity.

Guevara said the government is targeting 35 percent renewables in the power mix in 2030.

As of end of 2022, however, RE accounted for only about 22 percent of the country’s energy mix, with coal-fired power plants still providing nearly 60 percent.

Guevara said this 22 percent current share of RE in the generation mix was brought about by the increase in the use of coal, which has grown by 300 percent since 2008 when the RE Act (Republic Act 9513) was passed into law.

What kept RE from growing fast since 2008 was access to financing, which Guevara admitted has remained a problem.

According to the National Renewable Energy Program 2020-2040, only 17 percent of renewable energy service contracts awarded from 2009 to 2019 was completed, highlighting various challenges faced by the sector.

These challenges include delays in policy implementation, complex permitting, grid interconnection issues, resource development hurdles, limited financing access, and climate change risks.

Guevara assured, though, that despite these challenges, the Philippine government is committed to pursue a future energy scenario that is clean, “around which we have formulated and implemented policies and various mechanisms.”

She said that as of January 2024, there were 128 RE generation companies in the country, operating 188 generating facilities.

She added that 178 generating facilities are operating in the main grid, while 10 facilities are operating in the off-grid areas.

In Luzon, there are 108 generating facilities, while Visayas and Mindanao each have 40 facilities.

“We need to surmount many challenges to pursue opportunities in RE and total electrification,” Guevara said. (LMY)

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