Sustainability issues impede renewable energy power projects
- Ehda Dagooc () - April 23, 2010 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Despite persistent calls to develop renewable energy sources in the Philippines, the country’s power industry players said important factors have to be addressed before RE power generation can fully take off.

Harnessing wind energy for instance requires huge investments from companies and yet it is the most undependable source of renewable energy.        

Segundino A. Tiatco Jr., plant manager of Northwind Power Developoment Corporation in Bangui Bay Wind Power in Luzon, said the Northwind facility alone incurred a total investment of US$55 million when it was set up in 2003.

Tiatco said the company is actually having difficulties in making its wind power project viable and what’s keeping it running until today is the loan interest from the Danish government that helped build the facility.

The Northwind facility is designed to produce 33 megawatts of power but   currently it only generates an average of three to four megawatts due to the unpredictability of the wind strength in the area. He however said that while wind energy is not a sustainable source for base load power generation, it can supplement the main power source.

Solar energy, on the other hand, also has its own share of challenges including the sustainability of supply and the high maintenance cost.

Recently, the DOE announced that it expects to realize a total of P95 billion worth of investments in the renewable energy projects in the Philippines in the next two to three years.

DOE undersecretary Roy V. Kyamko said that the agency has contracted 87 projects for renewable energy plants that will be situated in different areas across the country, including Central Visayas.

Aside from these 87 approved contracts for renewable energy plants, the department is currently evaluating over a hundred applications of similar investments.

“We are hopeful that the Philippine can hit the target of providing 5,000 Megawatt power sourced from renewable energy by 2020,” Kyamko said.

The signing of the Renewable Energy Act of 2008 into Law in December of 2008, has paved way for stronger interest among foreign investors to establish renewable energy plants in the Philippines, Kyamko said.

In Central Visayas, investors are looking at maximizing the hydro and biomass sources to produce renewable energy.

Renewable energy is energy generated from natural resources, such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, and geothermal heat, which are renewable or naturally replenished.

Record shows that in 2006 about 18 percent of global energy consumption came from renewable sources, 13 percent of which coming from traditional biomass, like wood-burning.

Hydroelectricity was the next largest renewable energy source, providing three percent (15 percent of global electricity generation), followed by solar hot water/heating, which contributed 1.3 percent. Modern technologies such as geothermal energy, wind power, solar power, and ocean energy combined provided some 0.8 percent of final energy consumption.

BANGUI BAY WIND POWER CENTRAL VISAYAS ENERGY IN CENTRAL VISAYAS KYAMKO NORTHWIND NORTHWIND POWER DEVELOPOMENT CORPORATION POWER RENEWABLE RENEWABLE ENERGY ACT
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