Philippines to benefit from bold wind power development

Danessa Rivera - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines stands to reap vast socioeconomic and environmental benefits from a more aggressive wind power development starting this year as part of a more ambitious, green-led recovery from the pandemic, according to a report by Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).

In the report “Capturing Green Recovery Opportunities from Wind Power in Developing Economies,” GWEC, in collaboration with BVG Associates, said the Philippines could see more than $1.1 billion, or roughly P56 billion, of gross value added to the economy with more than 1,650 megawatts (MW) of wind installations completed under a more ambitious approach from 2022 to 2026.

The installations will support a 70 percent increase in jobs as well as save more than 65 million metric tons of carbon emissions equivalent.

As of end-2021, data from the Department of Energy (DOE) showed the country had an installed wind power capacity of 442.9 MW.

The total installed wind capacity is only three percent of the 14,822.03-MW potential capacity of the wind energy service contracts awarded by the DOE.

“With the increase in coal price volatility and ongoing supply chain disruption, it is time for coal import-dependent countries like the Philippines to develop a self-sufficient power system which relies on clean energy,” GWEC Asia head Liming Qiao said in a statement.

“As elections approach in the Philippines, GWEC and the wind industry look forward to supporting the current and next administrations in creating meaningful climate policies and renewable energy targets, and kickstarting a post-pandemic green recovery,” she said.

The Philippines is among the five countries assessed by GWEC and BVG Associates in the report. The other countries are Brazil, India, Mexico and South Africa.

GWEC said these five countries have significant untapped wind energy resource that could unlock rapid economic growth under green recovery measure as they recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report quantified a series of impacts which would result from pursuing a green recovery strategy, where public policy shifts toward clean energy transition to accelerate deployment of wind projects over the next five years.

GWEC said an intensified approach from a business-as-usual scenario “would not only support countries on their progress to meeting energy and climate coals but would enable them to realize a range of socioeconomic benefits from long-term job creation to cleaner air and water conservation.”

In total, the five countries would be able to generate 2.23 million full-time equivalent jobs over a 25-year lifetime from nearly 20 gigawatts (GW) of additional wind power installations.

These wind projects will power roughly 25 million homes each year from 2026 onward, and potentially save the equivalent of 714 million metric tons of CO2 emissions over wind farm lifetimes.

“Our work with GWEC shows how wind energy can deliver a green economic recovery and cheap energy. The report includes recommendations on how to strengthen policy, transmission and permitting to create jobs and establish local supply chains,” BVGA Associates associate director Mike Blanch said.

GWEC said the report shows the importance of clear vision and policy commitment to mobilize private investment in wind energy and provides tailored policy and regulatory recommendations for each country.

“Policy commitments, investment in expansion of grid and transmission infrastructure, as well as simplifying the permitting schemes for renewable energy projects are the common recommendations across each country studied in this report,” GWEC chief executive officer Ben Backwell said.

“Addressing these barriers proactively, in coordination with the wind energy industry and other relevant stakeholders, can support accelerated deployment of wind energy and a green recovery in emerging economies,” he said.

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