Politics

2,000 MW of renewable energy projects in Mindanao in the pipeline

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By Maya M. Padillo, Correspondent  

RENEWABLE ENERGY (RE) projects that can produce about 2,000 megawatts (MW) of power are in the pipeline within the southern Philippine islands, according to an official of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA). 

Assistant Secretary Romeo M. Montenegro, MinDA deputy executive director, said projects with a combined capacity of 400 MW area already committed, which means these already have financial provisions and processing of various permits is underway.  

“When we say committed, there is already financial clausing but the proponents are just waiting for some approvals in terms of permits. For instance… when it comes to hydro, you have to go through several permitting processes. If it is in the mountains, you have to go through the indigenous peoples’ cooperation and consent. If it is hydro there has to be a hydrological study which will take two years,” Mr. Montenegro said during last week’s Habi at Kape media forum.  

He did not give the details of the projects, but said there are also proposals for biomass and battery storage. 

The other 1,600 MW are indicative clean energy projects, or those filed with the Department of Energy but have yet to secure a funding agreement.  

“It’s not easy to go through all these challenges. These are among the challenges being faced by proponents in terms of financial clausing and in terms of the market,” he said.  

Mr. Montenegro said the proposed timeline for the completion of these power plants is 2028 in line with targets to increase the share of green energy in the country’s power mix.  

“Today we are looking at 70:30 ratio in favor of fossil.”  

Secretary Maria Belen Sunga-Acosta, chair of MinDa, said the goal for Mindanao is at least an equal share between fossil fuel and renewable sources, and eventually a 70:30 ratio in favor of clean energy.   

“What MinDA is aiming for is, yes development in Mindanao but growth that is sustainable and geared towards… renewable energy. We are working towards flipping the energy mix to 70% RE and 30% fossil fuels, but that’s a tall order, so even just at 50:50,” she said at the same forum in mixed English and Filipino.  

She said part of the strategy to achieve this is tapping varied green energy sources, including hydro from waterfalls, solar, and biomass from waste products of agriculture, among others.   

The MinDA officials also said they are hoping to explore the potential of blue energy, or those that come from the marine environment such as waves, current, and wind.