Energy Policy in the Philippines and the Pacific

The Philippines is situated at the entrance to the Asia-Pacific region.

As a nation in the Western Pacific, the Philippines have considerable geothermal energy potential.

Geothermal energy can be of enormous benefit to the Philippines.  

1. Geothermal energy potential of the Phillipines 

The Philippines and Indonesia go head-to-head in the Asia-Pacific region for number one spot of the leading geothermal power producers. 

The Philippines has a huge geothermal energy potential, possibly only surpassed by Indonesia in the Asia-Pacific region. This allows the Philippines a relative degree of energy independence. Geothermal energy can be used as base load energy, which makes it equally attractive for households and industry.

2. Hydropower potential and tidal power plants in the Phillipines

Surprisingly, the Philippines have considerable hydropower potential. Although it must be said that, similar to Vietnam, the potential for building large hydroelectric power plants has already been largely exhausted. Vietnam has similar conditions for hydropower, although  by comparison Vietnam has greater hydropower potential overall. Indeed, hydropower is a welcome addition to the Philippines’ abundant geothermal energy potential. Both forms of power generation have high energy yield rates, although hydropower has a higher energy yield in large hydropower plant projects. The Philippines could be the exception due to its high underground heat potential for heat extraction from geothermal power plants.

Another form of hydrolic power is tidal power plants. Tidal power plants currently do not contribute to energy security in the Philippines. However, due to the country’s location in the western Pacific Ocean, tidal power in the Philippines could have enormous potential. In addition, the Philippines has a large coastal area with shallow water along its chain of islands and in the west of the Philippines. This makes the Philippines ideal for the construction of tidal power plants. Tidal power plants would be a unique feature of any country’s energy infrastructure. They are also a reliable supplier of electricity for a nation. 

3. Biomass potential for fuel and gas production in the Philippines 

Biomass is mainly oriented towards agricultural use. Due to the technological progress in biomass technology as well as microfinance, it is now possible to use different materials for fuel and / or gas production. The size of biofuel production plants has decreased dramatically, which means that biomass technologies have become more widespread. Here too, the current focus is more on agricultural use. 

Due to the strong growth of the cities as well as the increasing population, it makes sense to further expand the biomass technology. The aim is to use an even wider range of input materials such as municipal waste (MSW). The focus could be on plastics (e.g. R-PET) and other plastic waste fractions that could be used to produce fuel. This would also support the pollution of the fragile oceanic ecosystem. The use of solid municipal waste for electricity generation seems unjustified, as there are more readily available technologies such as photovoltaics that can be used for electricity generation. In comparison, photovoltaic has a higher EROI (energy return on invested energy).

4. Use of the far-reaching solar energy potential of the Philippines

Given the Philippines’ relative proximity to equatorial latitudes, photovoltaics appears to be one of the best ways to generate electricity. This technology can be easily applied in urban areas and large cities. Since the use of biomass in urban areas is restrictive, solar roofs seem to be a good alternative for generating the required electricity. But photovoltaics could also be used as part of a decentralized solution that supplies electricity to municipalities. 

5. Geopolitical footprint of the Philippines in the Asia-Pacific region

A major advantage of the Philippines is its relative openness to the Western Pacific. This geographical openness to the sea allows the country to trade with a variety of nations. This is part of the history of this region, which is historically part of the polyponic world. Because of its direct access to the Pacific Ocean and the Indonesian archipelago, the Philippines has access to hydrocarbon resources. Most of these energy resources flow through the Strait of Malacca next to Singapore. This is one of the most important strategic advantages of the Philippines in terms of its energy policy. This geographical proximity to the Strait of Malacca allows the Philippines to be more independent in hydrocarbon imports than China.

The switch to LNG and offshore wind energy may provide the Philippines with a steady, more variable energy supply. The Philippines has a huge water front. The possibilities for building these offshore wind turbines and offshore wind farms are much better in the western part of the Philippines. Storage facilities for wind energy would have to be built. LNG and PNG should be a welcome addition to coal imports. It is difficult to estimate the extent to which local coal deposits are suitable for electricity supply despite excellent renewable energy sources.

The mere fact that the Philippines has such enormous geothermal energy potential makes the use of coal for power generation less interesting. The potential for solar energy is enormous. The high level of emissions from coal-fired power plants in the Philippines and East Asia should be taken into account.  

6. Conclusion: The Philippines will be able to exploit the potential of renewable energies.

A DIVERSE RENEWABLE ENERGY MIX: Perhaps the greatest future potential is solar energy, which can be used for different purposes in different locations in both rural and urban areas. Tidal power plants have the greatest potential compared to where they are now and what impact they could have on the energy system as a whole. Looking at the environmental aspects, waste-to-fuel could play a significant role in the Philippine energy system, especially in urban locations. Overall, the Philippines has an enormous potential of renewable energy. 

GOOD GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION FOR FUEL IMPORTS: Its location near the Malacca Strait will enable the Philippines to supply itself with the LNG and oil distillates it needs for further industrialization.

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