German interest in PHL to grow pool of RE investors

German interest in PHL to grow pool of RE investors

By John Victor D. Ordoñez, Reporter

RENEWABLE ENERGY (RE) tie-ups with Germany raise the prospect of leading-edge technology and financing being introduced to the solar and offshore wind sector, industry officials said.

“Germany can provide financing and technology for the deployment of RE,” Michael O. Sinocruz, director of energy policy and planning at the Department of Energy (DoE), said in a Viber message.

“Germany has good technology for solar and wind,” he added.

Last week, German Foreign Minister Annalena Charlotte A. Baerbock said her country is seeking to enter into RE and raw materials agreements with the Philippines this year.

German companies see the Philippines as an attractive location to explore RE ventures, she said.

“Germany and the Philippines are also key countries in global climate protection initiatives, especially since the Philippines is vulnerable to climate catastrophes,” she said.

The government has RE tie-ups in the pipeline with Japan, Denmark and Singapore, among others, Mr. Sinocruz said.

“Germany should be able to provide expertise on further expanding our renewable footprint, as it remains a global leader in the transition to a low emission environment,” Terry L. Ridon, a public investment analyst and convenor of the think tank InfraWatch PH said in a Facebook Messenger chat.

The government should identify locations for potential solar and wind farms as the Philippines tries to boost RE’s contribution to its energy mix, he added.

The Philippines aims to increase the share of RE in the power generation mix to 35% by 2030 and to 50% by 2040. Renewables currently account for 22% of the Philippine energy mix.

As of October, the DoE has awarded at least 1,300 RE contracts with a total potential capacity of 130,880.8 megawatts.

The Philippines has potential offshore wind resources of 178 gigawatts, with large parts of the coast having wind that can power turbines, the Board of Investments (BoI) has estimated.

Wind project is expected to help the government achieve its target of producing 15.3 gigawatts of clean energy by 2030 under the Philippine Development Plan.

On Dec. 21, the BoI issued a certificate of endorsement to Ivisan Windkraft Corp. for its 450-megawatt Frontera Bay Wind Power Project off Cavite, which is poised to become the Philippines’ first offshore wind project.

Minimal Government Thinkers founder Bienvenido S. Oplas, Jr. said the government should not rely too heavily on Germany to pursue its RE goals since the Philippines is facing its own problems with energy prices, a problem which arose in Germany when it retired its coal-fired plants and chose to rely on Russia for its gas supply.

“Right now, Germany is in a spiral of rising energy prices, growth deceleration and deindustrialization,” he said in a Viber message.

Legislators have been pushing for a bill seeking to ease the process for importing liquefied natural gas (LNG) amid uncertainty surrounding the gas remaining in the Malampaya field.

Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian said last year that LNG will aid in the transition to RE.

The Malampaya gas field is the country’s only indigenous commercial source of natural gas. It is expected to run out of easily recoverable gas using current techniques by 2027.

In May last year, President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. extended the Malampaya Service Contract 38 to Feb. 22, 2039, giving operators a 15-year window to further exploit the field beyond the initial Feb. 22, 2024 expiration date.

The gas field accounts for about 20% of Luzon’s electricity requirements.