Mindanao to tap more renewable energy sources

Mindanao will have yet another solar power plant, aside from this one in Cagayan de Oro City, this time a much bigger one. MindaNews file photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 12 January) – More renewable energy sources are expected to be added to the Mindanao grid in the next six years, a move that may equalize the island’s current power mix of 70-30 in favor of fossil fuels.

Mindanao Development Authority Assistant Secretary Romeo Montenegro said during “Wednesdays at Habi at Kape” that the island is hoping to see additional supply of about 2,000 megawatts from renewable energy between 2023 and 2028, of which 400 MW are committed applications and 1,600 MW are indicative or in the early stage of the application process.

He said renewable energy is being pushed in Mindanao as the government hopes to reverse the power mix of the island, which is dominated by coal-fed power plants, to comply with the country’s obligations under the Paris Agreement.

Montenegro added that no new applications for construction of coal-fired power plants will be approved in Mindanao after the Department of Energy declared in 2020 a moratorium on endorsements for greenfield coal power plants.

The multilateral agreement, which entered into force on November 4, 2016, targets to limit “global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels” as part of global efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects.

Under this agreement, countries “aim to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible to achieve a climate neutral world by mid-century.”

The Philippines signed the Paris Agreement on April 23, 2016, and it was ratified by the Senate on March 23, 2017.

Montenegro said the island has a total of 4,000 MW installed capacity, of which between 2,700 and 2,800 MW is available.

He added there are applications for solar, hydro, biomass, and other possible sources of renewable energy on the island.

“If these are implemented, and fully developing power to the grid, that will definitely turn the tide in favor of renewable energy by 2028. However, it’s not easy to go through the several challenges,” he said.

Montenegro said among the challenges that investors in renewable power encounter are the agreements between the proponents and financial institutions and the available market.

He said the power demand of Mindanao is continuously increasing at the rate of 4 to 7% annually.

“Definitely, we need at least 1,500 MW between now and 2030,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)