MANILA, Philippines - The country is set to award up to 80 permits this month to local and foreign firms to explore potential renewable energy sites as it aims to triple its clean-power capacity to account for half of its energy needs within 20 years.
The National Renewable Energy Program (NREP), launched on Tuesday, aims to increase renewable energy capacity to 15,400 megawatts by 2030 from about 5,400 MW at present, helping cut the country's dependence on imported oil.
That would still be less the 10% of the Philippines estimated capacity of more than 200,000 MW from renewable energy sources such as hydro power, wind, solar and geothermal.
"We're hoping renewable energy will account for at least 50% of our energy mix by 2030," Energy Undersecretary Jose Layug told reporters on Tuesday.
"Within this month we will award between 40 and 80 contracts, mostly for hydro. There will be a few (contracts for) wind and some solar," Layug said
The Southeast Asian country's new renewable energy target is more ambitious than a goal, announced last December, to double renewable energy output in 20 years.
The Philippines imports most of its oil needs at present. High oil prices have pushed inflation up this year, and were a factor in the central bank's decision to increase interest rates in March and May.
"(Renewable energy resources) are expensive now because of the emerging technology, but in the long term we see that the price will start coming down, making it cheaper than (traditional sources)," Layug said.
The Energy Department has also started seeking local and foreign investor interest in 15 prospects for petroleum and gas exploration and developments.
The tender process began with a roadshow in Singapore last week, and there will also be roadshows in Europe.
"It's the best time to do it. With high oil prices, everybody wants to look for new exploration blocks," Layug said.