Gov’t asks EU to develop ocean energy in Philippines
Monday, February 27th, 2012
The Philippines is one of the best places where companies can harness ocean energy, Energy Secretary Jose Rene D. Almendras said Monday, as he urged European countries to develop technologies that could tap this renewable resource.
During the first Meeting on Energy between the European Union and the Philippines on Monday, Almendras said he would want to tap European countries for best practices and technology transfer, such as France, which currently has the largest existing ocean power facility, and Scotland, which is now developing a similar plant.
The energy chief has asked representatives from these European countries to consider the Philippines as a country where they can “experiment” on ocean technology—an area where the European Union and the Philippines can cooperate.
In fact, the Philippine government has already made a pitch to host a global research and development center for existing and emerging ocean technologies, Almendras said, explaining that this particular resource is seen to provide an alternative source of energy for island nations and archipelagic states.
Almendras said he made the push before the United Nations Industrial Development Organization to establish an ocean technical center that would be funded by more advanced economies.
“There has to be more impetus, and we’re asking the multilateral [institutions] to [persuade] the First World countries to come in and help because none of us have the money for this,” Almendras explained. “In essence, I made a pitch to Unido … to put up an ocean technology (research and development) center … in the Philippines.”
The energy chief noted that most developed countries are not supplying enough funds for research and development of ocean technology.
“Why? Because they don’t have oceans. It’s the poor countries, the small islands, archipelagic countries [that can benefit from ocean energy]. So, in the Vienna Energy Forum, I made a push for that. Clearly I was supported by the small countries,” Almendras said.
In the Philippines, the first ocean energy facility is set to start commercial operations by 2018. The government hopes the facility will help spur the interest of investors in exploring and developing the untapped potential of the country’s ocean resource.
Data from the National Renewable Energy Plan book show that the first project to come online will be the 10-megawatt Cabangan ocean energy thermal conversion (Otec) project in Zambales. Records show that the project is being handled by Bell Pirie Power Corp.
The Cabangan project, however, is one of only 20 indicative power projects submitted to the Department of Energy.
According to the NREP book, only 70.5 megawatts of additional capacity from ocean resources are expected within a 20-year period to 2030. Investments for these projects are seen to reach P11 billion.
A study conducted by the Mindanao State University indicated that the country, being an archipelago, may theoretically draw around 170,000 megawatts in capacity from over 1,000 square kilometers of ocean resource.