Philippine Gov’t. Explores Alternative Energy Sources

By 2013, the Philippines hopes to double its renewable energy capacity to 60 percent, goals developed by the country’s Department of Energy (DOE) and the Arroyo administration.

Using its abundance of resources from the sun, wind, ocean, biomass, geothermal energy, the country thinks it could become a solar manufacturing export hub of the Association of Southeast. Completion is expected of a solar utility power plant in Puerto Princesa City, located in Mangingisda Village. 25,000 solar panels covering 20-hectares will be installed to support the city’s energy supply. It will generate 5 MW of electricity over a 20-year period, with a capacity equivalent to 550,000 barrels of oil. In Mindanao, at least four solar power projects are now underway. The biggest solar project is the Philippine National Oil Company’s (PNOCs) solar home system, which targets 15,000 households in 2007. With the installation of the country’s first wind power in Bagui Bay Remote, non-electrified villages will soon have electricity for the first time. The country’s goal is to install wind-based power projects with a capacity of at least 417 MW over the next 10 years. More than 1000 other potential sites for untapped wind power have been identified. Ocean wave energy studies done in collaboration with Japanese scientists show that there are 16 potential areas for the so-called ocean thermal energy conversion. Worldwide, the technology is still being developed, but the Philippines may become the first to use this form of energy, with an estimated 170,000 MW of energy supply from the ocean. Biomass energy can be generated from Philippines’ agricultural residue like wood, straw, animal manure, rice husks, and sugar cane. Burning these agricultural wastes can generate heat, steam, and energy able to operate a 30 MW biomass plant. One biomass plant is that of the UK-based Bronzeoak, which will soon see a US$100 million expansion. Another experimental project in Isabela will use rice hulls to produce biomass power. According to the government, the Philippines is currently the second largest geothermal energy producer in the world, behind the US. Its power plants rely on geothermal and hydropower energy as a major source of electricity in many areas.
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