Renewable energy law 6 years after: 650 contracts okayed

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Renewable energy law 6 years after: 650 contracts okayed
Six years after the Philippines moves to cut its dependence on fossil fuel, the country has more renewable energy projects

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Energy (DEO) approved at least 650 renewable energy (RE) contracts with a combined capacity of 10,040 megawatts, 6 years after the country aimed to cut its reliance on fossil fuel as energy source.

Since the Renewable Energy Act of 2008 was signed into law, there have been  404 hydropower, 68 solar, 54 wind, 43 biomass, 41 geothermal, and 5 ocean energy projects which have been approved by the DOE.

Installed capacity, or the intended output of these RE projects, however, stand at 2,500 MW.

An additional 166 RE projects are awaiting DOE approval, with a potential capacity of 1,386.05 MW as against an installed capacity of 697.8 MW.

These are 129 hydropower, 18 solar, 5 ocean, 5 biomass, 6 wind, and two geothermal contracts.

RE projects in the Philippines have increased over the years. In 2003, its MMBFOE (million barrels of fuel-oil equivalent) was only 81.5 in 2003. In 2012, it reached 104.1 MMBFOE, according to the DOE.

Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla in September said the Philippines can rely on RE for a stable source of energy whenever oil prices go up or if there is a shortage in supply in the global market.

To make RE investments competitive in the country, the government introduced the Renewable Energy Act of 2008, which provided incentives for developers that tap sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat as source of energy.

One of the law’s provisions exempts RE developers from income taxes levied by the national government for the first 7 years of operations.

Also to fast track approval of pending contracts, the DOE has cut the application process from two years to 45 days.

By 2030, DOE targets tripling the country’s dependence on renewable energy by also tripling its energy mix to 15,304 MW from the current installed capacity of 5,438 MW.

Renewable energy accounts for more than a third of the country’s total energy demand, according to the DOE.

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