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Playing RE catch up

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A report by London-based global energy think tank Ember shows that the Philippines generated just 22 percent of its electricity from renewables in 2023, which is way below the global average.

Data from the Department of Energy showed that coal-fired power plants remained the leading source of energy in the country – accounting for 43.9 percent of the overall energy mix as of last year – despite higher contributions from other sources such as renewable energy.

“The Philippines saw its power sector emissions nearly double in the last 10 years as rising demand was met with a more than doubling of coal power generation,” Ember said.

The report said the contribution of solar and wind to the Philippines’ electricity generation reached only 3.2 percent in 2023, substantially lower than the 113 percent share recorded by its neighbor Vietnam.

Globally, the renewable energy share in the global energy mix stood at 30.3 percent last year, up from 29.42 percent in 2022.

Ember said solar retained its status as the world’s fastest growing electricity source for the 19th consecutive year. It also surpassed wind to become the largest source of new electricity for the second straight year. On the other hand, hydropower generation dropped to a five-year low, stalling plans of reducing global power sector emissions.

Nonetheless, Ember said 2024 would begin a new era of falling fossil fuel generation.

The Philippine government is targeting a 35 percent renewable energy share in the power generation mix by 20230, and then rising to 50 percent by 2040.

We definitely have a long way to go towards hitting that reasonable target, but if the efforts of the government and the power sector are coordinated and sincere, there is no reason we cannot achieve it, especially as other countries have shown they can do it better and faster. Increasing the share of renewable energy in the power generation mix is something we cannot afford to delay any further, especially in this country that is currently grappling with a serious power supply and distribution problem.

If we are going to fix our power sector, we might as well do it right and in the most sustainable manner possible.*

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