Despite the bleak outlook of the crippling power
crisis that has gripped parts of the country, specially
in Mindanao, Energy Secretary Jose Rene
Almendras has painted a rosy picture of the future
of the nation’s energy sustainability.
The DOE Secretary was the speaker of the monthly
roundtable discussion of current issues faced by the nation, conducted
by the Pimentel Institute for Leadership and Governance
(PILG) and the Pimentel Center for Local Governance (PCLG) at
the University of Makati last April 20, 2012.
Despite the regular six-hour brownouts in Mindanao that has
plagued many parts of Mindanao, and the unabated hike in the
cost of petroleum products, Almendras said the country’s energy
situation is not that bad.
Secretary Jose Rene Almendras spoke before a cross section
of society composed of the academe, the government, and
private sector during a roundtable discussion here; he drew a
favorable perspective of the nation’s future energy situation.
Good news: The Philippines has sustainable energy.
The good news is that the Philippines’ energy consumption
is sustainable, Almendras said. The Philippines is able to supply
57.5% of our energy needs from its own resources, Almendras
After the oil crisis in the 1970’s, the Philippines was adversely
affected when the price of oil skyrocketed, he said. This prompted
the policy makers to promote self-sufficiency in terms of energy
consumption, he explained. Because the Philippines did not have
so much fossil fuels, like oil and gas, the Philippines had to develop
green energy, like hydro and geothermal, he said.
Now, battle cry for self-sufficiency has paid off since the Philippines
has become the world’s largest geothermal electricity producer,
he declared. Almendras disclosed that 46.3% of the country’s
energy requirements are green, meaning non-polluting. In
terms of renewable energy, 38.9% of the country’s energy requirements
is fueled by renewable energy, he added. He also
announced that the present use of renewable energy is over the
benchmark set by the United Nations, which is 30% of the energy
use should be renewable energy.
The Philippines doesn’t depend on oil for energy.
Contrary to what many may think, the Philippines has low
dependency on oil as a sourceof energy. The energy consumption
of the Philippines is only 7.52% dependent on petroleum, he
said. Even if the straits of Hormus were closed due to armed
conflict, thus blocking the flow of oil from the Middle East, although
our vehicles will have problems, the Philippines will continue
to have sufficient electricity. The Philippines has veered away
from hydrocarbons, or petroleum from energy generation.
The energy supply of the Philippines is 66% self-sufficient.
Much of the country’s energy consumption is from geothermal,
hydro and natural gas resources, which are green energy.
The future resource: LNG
The energy secretary expressed confidence that the future
energy resource will no longer be oil, but liquefied natural gas or
LNG. This is a resource that the Philippines has in abundance,
Petroleum, the traditional source of energy, is already in the
decline, he bared. Technology has shifted to new types of energy
resources, that the Philippines has in abundance, including liquefied
Today, there are 41 buses plying the Batangas-Manila route
fueled by LNG, Almendras announced. The cost of fuel for these
buses is 40% cheaper than the cost of diesel.
Energy and economic viability
Almendras also explained
that economics is a vital component
in determining the use
of energy. Even if energy is
cheap, but the costs of transporting
it from one place to another
is high, then it may not
be economically practicable to
use that type of energy resource,
he explained. It may
also not be practical to set up
a coal-fired power plant in a
province that has low energy
demand. A coal power plant, to
be economically viable, requires
a minimum threshold in
energy consumption, he
Social dimensions of energy
Almendras said the social
dimensions of energy sourcing
cannot be ignored. It is not socially
acceptable to uproot and
dislocate people, and move
them in the name of creating
an energy source, he said.
While nuclear energy
might be cheap, but society
does not consider nuclear energy
as an acceptable energy
source, especially with the experience
in Fukushima after
the massive earthquake in
north Japan a year ago.
We must accept the fact
that we need to be responsible
to be sustainable in our
If we consider these factors,
then the country will have
a sensible direction in
channeling its energies towards
sustainability for future
generations, he said.