ILOILO CITY – The Department of Energy (DOE) announced on Wednesday that 68 indicative renewable energy (RE) projects with a potential capacity of 14,245 megawatts are being eyed in Western Visayas, while 29 projects are already operating with an installed capacity of 708 megawatts.
Engineer Gaspar Escobar Jr., chief of the Technical Services and Management Division of the Renewable Energy Management Bureau, said that of the 68 projects, 24 are for hydropower, 17 for offshore wind, 14 for solar, 12 for onshore wind, and one for geothermal.
In a press conference ahead of the 2023 Investment Forum on Renewable Energy at the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel, Escobar said the DOE continues to study programs and policies for the high integration of renewable energy in the power mix.
Energy Undersecretary Rowena Cristina Guevara said Western Visayas is now 28 percent into transitioning to renewable energy as of 2021.
The National Renewable Energy Program (NREP) 2020-2040 sets a target of at least 35 percent RE share in the power generation mix by 2030 and to increase it to 50 percent by 2040.
Bacolod City Mayor Abelardo Benitez, who also serves as the chairperson of the Western Visayas Regional Development Council, said the transition to renewable energy, aside from helping address the issue of climate change, will have other benefits for the region.
Benitez said renewable energy is currently the cheapest source that will lead the way for industries to come in due to cheaper electricity.
The region can also capitalize on exporting its products to countries that prefer the use of green energy since there are European countries that will only import products from countries with renewable energy initiatives.
“It has a big significance that is why the Regional Development Council 6 is focusing on renewable energy because it could pave the way for an economic boom,” he added.
Meanwhile, the investment forum gathered key players in the energy transition, including development partners, investors, financing institutions, and other stakeholders to create a strong network of international and local stakeholders, said National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Regional Director Arecio Casing Jr.
They are expected to collaborate to bring to fruition the national government’s goal of transitioning to a clean energy future, he added. (PNA)