Powering the Philippines’ Energy Transition

By Bjorn Biel M. Beltran, Special feature writer

Energy has long been a topic of conversation when it comes to envisioning tomorrow’s society. Advances in energy have historically led to massive spurts of technological advancement, the most notable being the first industrial revolution in which the use of fuel sources like coal and steam powered mankind from an agrarian and artisanal society to a society dominated by industry and the manufacture of machinery. .

Many leaders are pushing for a similar new transition today. In November last year, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres released a global roadmap to achieve a radical transformation of energy access and transition by 2030, while contributing to the goal of net zero emissions by 2050.

“We are facing a moment of truth,” Mr. Guterres said. “Nearly 760 million people still do not have access to electricity. Some 2.6 billion people lack access to clean cooking solutions. And the way we produce and use energy is the main cause of the climate crisis. We must resolve these challenges in this decade. And we have to start today. With the global roadmap at hand, together we can realize the potential of energy as a crucial enabler for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and the goals of the Paris Agreement, ensuring a more prosperous future, fair and sustainable for people and the planet.”

As the effects of climate change continue to be felt around the world, exacerbated by the of the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more people are beginning to realize the critical importance of transitioning to cleaner and more sustainable lifestyles.

As a signatory to the Paris Agreement on climate change, the Philippines has committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 75% by 2030. Among these initiatives to achieve this goal are the various programs of the Department of Energy (DoE) aimed at facilitating the energy transition. , including the National Renewable Energy Program (NREP).

The NREP aims to achieve the country’s renewable energy goals by institutionalizing a comprehensive approach to address challenges and gaps that prevent and/or delay wider application of RE technologies in a sustainable manner; and outlining the action plans needed to facilitate and encourage greater private sector investment in renewable energy development.

Specifically, the NREP aims to increase the country’s geothermal capacity by 75.0%; 160% hydro capacity; provide additional biomass energy capacity of 277 MW; achieve wind grid parity with the commissioning of 2,345 MW of additional capacity; integrate additional solar power capacity of 284 MW and work towards the ambitious goal of 1,528 MW; and developing the first ocean energy facility for the country.

Other plans such as the Philippine Energy Plan 2040 (PEP) are also being developed to usher in a new era for Philippine energy. The PEP was designed to increase the production of clean and indigenous energy sources to respond to the growing economic development of the country; reduce energy waste through the use of energy efficiency tools and strategies; and ensuring a balance between providing reliable and reasonably priced energy services, supporting economic growth and protecting the environment.

“The Philippine energy sector has gone through an unprecedented period over the past two years, primarily due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The country’s energy problems have intensified due to declining and unstable gas supply from the Malampaya field, which requires an immediate LNG supply solution. This has obviously led to changes in the energy supply mix and consumption patterns in various sectors,” said Karthik Sathyamoorthy, President of AG&P LNG Terminals & Logistics. Business world in an email.

“With the economy slowly recovering and returning to pre-pandemic levels, I expect the Philippine DoE 2040 Energy Plan to be in full swing with the country’s aspiration to accelerate clean energy fuels such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) and renewables The DoE projects that natural gas (NG) from LNG imports will account for 40% of electricity generation by 2040, equivalent to 17 MTPA of LNG for electricity production in the country.

With the Malampaya gas field, which provides 30% of Luzon’s energy, set to run out by 2024, alongside the fact that the country also has a growing population with the highest electricity costs in Southeast Asia, Mr. Sathyamoorthy stressed that the need to establish energy security, reliability and affordable energy has never been greater.

“In this regard, I anticipate that the public and private sectors will continue to focus on shifting from conventional energy sources to cleaner alternatives such as natural gas and liquefied natural gas which will play a crucial role in the transition. energy of the country”, says Mr. Sathyamoorthy.

“At AG&P, we anticipate the Philippines’ energy industry will transform into a more robust, globally connected and clean energy-focused segment. Combined with the ability of gas to stabilize the power grid, LNG opens the door to more renewables, which are inherently volatile. Thus, LNG combined with renewables has a net decarbonization effect. Therefore, we are actively pursuing LNG/NG supply initiatives that will also support the growth of renewable energy and usher in reliable and affordable power supply in the various segments of the downstream value chain such as transport, commercial sector and industrial,” Mr. Sathyamoorthy added.

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