MANILA - The Philippines has yet to fully tap the potential of wind and solar energy and is way behind other countries in using these renewable power sources, an official of an international renewable energy developer said on Thursday.
Ireland-based Mainstream Renewable Power said the level of solar and wind energy in the Philippines is at par with its peers in Southeast Asia but is low when compared to Western countries
"Compared with Ireland, Denmark, Germany and Spain and the U.S., you are very very low," said Dr. Eddie O'Connor, executive chairman of Mainstream Renewable Power.
According to O'Connor, the Philippines has 427 megawatts (MW) of wind, and 843 MW of solar currently installed. But the country could potentially generate 70,000 MW from wind and 76,000 MW from solar, if these renewable energy sources are properly tapped.
"Compared with Vietnam you're currently ahead but Vietnam has big plans," O'Connor said.
"And if you are competing with Vietnnam for inward investment, which I suspect the Philippines are, they have got 45,000 MW installed at the moment and they are going to build 5,000 MW a year from now on. They need that and I am saying you need the same."
O'Connor said expects there will be more demand for renewables including solar and wind after the government instituted higher taxes on fossil fuels, and as the cost of wind and solar continues to drop.
Mainstream is developing 170 MW in wind power capacity with local partners Cornerstone and Pan Energy, which includes a 70 MW wind farm in Camarines Sur.
O'Connor said the company intends to sell the energy assets it develops to a target market of funds, insurance companies and power utilities.
Mainstream said it has over 4,400MW offshore wind assets developed and sold to utilities globally. -- with a report from Warren De Guzman, ABS-CBN News