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Climate and Environment

Blinken vows US support for Philippines' clean energy transition

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
Blinken vows US support for Philippines' clean energy transition
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks at a clean energy event at the Ayala Triangle Gardens in Makati City on August 6, 2022.
Philstar.com/Gaea Katreena Cabico

MANILA, Philippines — The United States is committed to help the Philippines shift to cleaner and more sustainable energy sources, State Secretary Antony Blinken said Saturday. 

Washington’s top diplomat said the US is committed to aid the Philippines achieve its target of increasing the share of renewable energy sources in the energy mix to 35% by 2030 and to 50% by 2040. Only 21% of the country’s generated power came from renewables such as solar, wind, hydropower, and geothermal in 2020. 

Blinken attended a clean energy event in Makati City’s central business district, where he stressed that investing in clean energy is one of the “powerful” ways to address the climate crisis. The Philippines is among the countries most exposed to climate change hazards. 

“These efforts are more important than ever because every region in the world is experiencing the dangerous effects of the climate crisis,” he said. 

Blinken also witnessed the awarding of a US Trade and Development Agency grant to Aboitiz Renewables, Inc. for a feasibility study to develop up to three gigawatts of offshore wind projects in the Philippines. 

“We hope we can galvanize more investments in wind power. That’s an industry with tremendous potential for growth in the Philippines,” Blinken said. 

In his speech, Blinken also cited US' support to help the Philippines switch to clean energy such as the State Department’s Clean Energy Demand Initiative. He said 12 companies representing $2 billion in investments have so far signed letters of intent to partner with the Philippines. 

“Together, we’re reducing carbon emissions while creating jobs. We’re sparking innovation. We’re producing affordable reliable energy for families and communities throughout the country,” he continued.

Blinken also mentioned the partnership of Manila and Washington to develop a nuclear energy sector in the Philippines by facilitating cooperation between the two countries’ nuclear experts. 

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is determined to adopt nuclear power, saying in July that it is time to re-examine the government’s strategy toward building nuclear power plants. Environmental groups have been saying that nuclear power is an expensive and dangerous energy source. 

READMarcos pushes for gas, nuclear development alongside renewables

Offshore wind power 

During his first State of the Nation Address, Marcos stressed that increasing the use of renewables is “at the top” of the government’s climate agenda. 

The grant from the USTDA will help Aboitiz Renewables, Inc. identify potential offshore wind sites in the Philippines. The study is expected to last for a year and a half. 

“There’s huge potential for offshore wind in the Philippines. We’re surrounded by waters,” said Lee Hazel Balangue, first vice president for renewable energy project development & execution at Aboitiz Power Corporation.

Under a high growth scenario, the Philippines has the potential to install 21 GW of offshore wind power by 2040, accounting for 21% of its energy supply, an April 2022 joint study of the Department of Energy and the World Bank showed. 

Under a low-growth scenario, the Philippines can only install GW of offshore wind, representing 3% of the country’s energy supply. 

Main challenges to the installation of a successful offshore wind industry at a large scale include cost of energy, transmission, impacts to the environment and sustainability, limited local chain supply, financing, and project ownership. 

ANTONY BLINKEN

CLEAN ENERGY

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