WE are a country highly dependent on imported fuel and rising oil prices makes the development of our new and renewable energy (NRE) resources compelling.
In the next ten years, for instance, our countrys fuel needs will increase from about 10 million to 14.5 million barrels of oil; demand for coal will rise from 7.3 million metric tons to about 15.7 million metric tons.
Our energy supply-demand situation looks bleak. Luzon will be secure only until 2007. Cebu, Negros and Panay are already in critical supply situation. Mindanao does not fare any better; its power peak demand will begin to exceed its existing capacity by next year.
Meanwhile, world oil prices of crude and unleaded gasoline are escalating. Given our energy requirements, the mathematics of our oil imports and expenditure is simply staggering.
Luckily, we are an archipelagic country blessed with vast agricultural and renewable resources. We have already taken advantage of our abundant local geothermal energy and, with our success, we are now the worlds second largest user of geothermal energy for power generation. In 2003, use of geothermal energy has allowed us to save $454.7 million in foreign exchange or cost-effectively displacing 16.24 MMBFOE (millions barrels of fuel oil equivalent).
Much foreign exchange can still be saved as we have an abundant, well-mapped potential for NREs. These include biomass, solar, geothermal, hydropower and ocean energy, and other emerging energy sources. All of these are considered clean sources of energy and viable alternatives to providing electricity to about 10,000 off-grid barangays and remote areas where generators and gas-powered lamparas remain the only sources of electricity and light.
NREs already provide roughly a third or 28 percent of our total energy requirement. …