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8 June 2009 in Philippine Daily Inquirer
Gov't bullish on renewable energy sector

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Energy (DOE) expects to draw in as much as $27 billion in new investments in the country's renewable energy sector over the next 20 years.

In a report, the DOE said the estimated amount may be able to produce 24,000 megawatts (MW) from various renewable energy sources like geothermal, hydro and mini hydro,wind, solar, ocean and biomass bagasse.

Of the $27 billion, the DOE said it expects Luzon to attract $16.14 billion, which may be used to produce 8,072.3 MW of electricity from renewable sources.

The Visayas is expected to bring in some $4.9 billion to produce 2,442.6 MW of renewable energy, and Mindanao, $5.93 billion for 2,963.6 MW.

Government documents showed that the Philippines has sufficient geothermal reserves to produce over a thousand megawatts of energy, a high solar power penetration and an abundant biomass resources that can produce 235.7 MW.

The country also has ocean energy potential of 170,000 MW and wind power capacity of 76,600 MW, the DOE said.

Mario Marasigan, energy utilization and management bureau director of the DOE, said investments in renewable energy usually range from $2 million to $2.5 million per MW.

Currently, the Philippines is drawing only 4,500 MW of electricity from renewable energy sources. The DOE targets to double this capacity over the next 10 years.

Energy Secretary Angelo T. Reyes had said that the country's potential for renewable energy generation could even reach as much as 200,000 MW.

Reyes signed last month the implementing rules and regulations governing the Renewable Energy Act of 2008 in a bid to entice local and foreign companies to invest in the sector.

The law is expected to spur investments in the renewable energy sector because of incentives such as exemption from tariff duties and zero-rated value-added tax for the importation of machinery and equipment for the first 10 years of an operating contract, tax credits on domestic capital equipment and services and a seven-year income tax holiday.

Marasigan said that among the companies that have expressed interest in investing in the country's renewable energy sector included Aboitiz Power Corp., First Gen Corp., Energy Development Corp., Constellation Energy Group, Oriental Energy, Trans-Asia Oil and Energy Development Corp. (which is going back to renewable energy), Green Power Philippines (on biomass), Global Green Power, Amihan Energy, Deep Ocean Power Philippines and Agus Corp.

He added that the main areas of concentration would be the wind, hydro and biomass power sectors, which have drawn significant investor interest.

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