PH to remain heavily dependent on oil imports—ADB

Asia urged to tackle energy mix amid growth demands



MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines, along with its neighbors in Asia, must improve energy efficiency, widen access to electricity, and prioritize renewable energy supplies in order to sustain its growth path, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Asian countries including the Philippines are seen to remain heavily dependent on energy imports especially oil “in the foreseeable future” or at least until 2035, the ADB said in its study, “Outlook 2013: Asia’s Energy Challenge.”

Much of the projected surge in oil imports will be driven by increasingly well-off Asians trading public transport for private cars, further whetting the region’s thirst for imported oil despite efforts to curb dependence on fossil fuels.

Energy consumption is also expected to grow much more quickly to fuel their economic growth.

The ADB also cited country-specific factors in its study.

“In the Philippines, the contribution of [renewable energy] will shrink from 43 percent in 2010 to 14 percent in 2035, by which time proven indigenous gas and coal reserves will be depleted,” ADB said.

It also noted how in 2010, 16 million Filipinos, or about 17 percent of the country’s population, lacked access to electricity, and access would only improve with improved energy efficiency and more energy investments.

In the Philippines, about half of fuel inputs for power generation in the country come from renewable energy, where capacity is at present  concentrated on hydropower, according to Mario Marasigan of the Department of Energy’ Renewable Energy Management Bureau.

Still, the Philippines wants to triple its renewable energy capacity by 2030 while ensuring reliable and efficient energy supply for businesses and households alike.

The Philippines needs about P556.7 billion worth of investments from 2012 to 2030 to meet its program targets, according to a presentation by Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla.

By 2035, ADB said, most Asian countries will produce less than half the energy they need, and many will produce only a tiny fraction. Only three countries in developing Asia—Azerbaijan, Brunei Darussalam, and Kazakhstan—are energy self-sufficient.

ADB said that by 2035, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam will have self-sufficiency rates similar to Japan—that means all will remain dependent on imported fuel.

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  • MG

    It is sad that the present leadership cannot pick this up quick enough. I learned that RE projects are low priority of the new secretary of energy. Mr President you are the only person who can change this mind frame. Madaming RE investor permits are experiencing too much red tape. Malakas talaga ang oil lobby, mukha nga. Huli na naman tayo sa balita.

  • joboni96

    leverage ofw remittances for energy projects
    via direct retail of government bonds

    1. mini hydro all over the philippines
    2. agricultural waste to energy
    3. animal power to electricity
    4. philippine deep temp gradient
    5. human exercise
    6. led lighting
    7. garbage to electricity
    8. nuclear power in mindanao owned by communities around it
    9. pilipino control of oil production
    10. geothermal
    11. mass transport

  • bright

    Oil dependency can be solved.

    1. Maximize our resources in the West Philippine Sea. That territory is indisputably and irrefutably ours.
    2. Look for other alternatives when it comes to powering items that use oil. How about solar energy, wind, etc? There is always an alternative.

  • Ben

    In the Philippine “political will” is a rarest commodity. Administration after the other knows that there will be problems in oil from foreign shore conflict or economic competition or inside turbulence in the country, most volatile resource that we need in our day to day operation but Ethanol law was taken half-heartedly, renewable resources such as tidal, wind and even nuclear withered away in the recesses of our political minds, hence Mindanao is already suffering and we in Luzon and in Visayas are operating in a a borderline of excess power that when there is a surge in investments that excess will be wiped out and in turn giving us frequent black outs. PPP for infrastructures such as high speed rails and other infrastructures designed to block flooding and more road constructions and not only repair and has yet to show it wings but is already clipped for its potential by 3 years and it means delayed economic progress for another 5 to 10 years depending on the next administration if it will pursue the continuation of those projects. This country is not pro-active but is so business minded, it is not really for the Filipinos that they were harping about but for their own economic benefit, waiting till the last minute to implement projects that when implemented early and in enough numbers we can lower the costs of the operation and multiply our country`s economic gain but rather wait for the right time to maximize profits for the few investors such as the politicians themselves…as always most of them have a conflicting interests here blocking our progress.

  • joni_depp

    This only means that petroleum smuggling will continue to grow by leaps and bounds. In the meantime, Biazon is secure in his position at Customs as he continues to be Kamag-anak’s bagman in the immensely bright and profitable smuggling enterprise of the Aquinos.

  • delpillar

    Yung mga environmentalist and modern-day liberal-hypocrites ang mag-isip ng solution para di tayo maging heavily dependent on oil imports.

    1. Gawa ka ng clean Coal Power Plant, rally/welga sila kasama pa ang mga pari/madre, NPA, communist/progressive groups at kontra sila.

    2. Gawa ka ng Geothermal Plant, rally/welga sila kasama pa ang mga pari/madre, NPA, communist/progressive groups at kontra sila. kesyo mapupuno ng Sulfur ang kapaligiran

    3. Gawa ka ng Gas Turbine, rally/welga sila kasama pa ang mga pari/madre, NPA, communist/progressive groups at kontra sila kesyo napakamahal ng gas kahit na yung nibebenta from Malampaya at Nido, Palawan.

    4. Gawa ka ng clean Nuclear, rally/welga sila kasama pa ang mga pari/madre, NPA, communist/progressive groups at kontra sila. keyso kesyo

    5. Gawa ka ng Water Or Dam, rally/welga sila kasama pa ang mga pari/madre, NPA, communist/progressive groups at kontra sila dahil tataas ang level ng tubig at lulubog ang maraming villages na may sentimental value na for generations.

    Pwes, gusto nila ng solar at wind, sila ang gumastos ng Wind at Solar power plant na may capacity ng 6,000 to 8,000 Megawatt of energy which is our country’s requirements within 10 years. Doon nila malalaman na by producing 8,000 Megawatt of Solar power or Wind Power (yung stable ha) will be even higher than the entire yearly budget of the Philippines.

    Rough estimate is that for every 500 Megawatt of Solar Power Plant, about 2.5Billion US Dollar is needed for construction.

    Sa madaling sabi, karamihan ng mga isla katulad ng Masbate, Catanduanes, Romblon, Siquijor, Batanes, Jolo etc will be importing bunker oil and diesel as power plant fuel for at least until the next decade.

  • disqusted0fu

    Oil imports meaning oil smuggling… With the rampant smuggling of oil in the PH smuggled oil will eventually outweigh the legal importation of oil. Not only that the PH is not self sufficient in oil, it will also be losing a lot of money because of smuggling. Hopefully the next administration can do something about that because the present one is not doing anything

  • Weder-Weder Lang

    PH to remain heavily dependent on oil imports?

    In large part, we should thank PNoy for that. Had he taken our Sabah claim seriously, we would be enjoying Sabah’s oil. Today, Malaysia’s oil company Petronas is one of the world’s richest oil companies because of Sabah’s oil. Only goes to show why Malaysia was willing to pay PNoy and his team billions of dollars to bury our Sabah claim.

  • billy gunner

    The govt loves imports. Thats were kickbacks come in. Whether it’s oil or grains is immaterial.

  • randyaltarejos

    PH will always be dependent on imported fossil fuel. Why? Because the government doesn’t exhaust all means to tap renewable energy resources as alternative fuels to generate electricity. Wind power turbines have been started in Ilocos region with success. Can’t the government install the same renewable technology, including solar power, to other provinces, too? The DOST must lead the way if it wants recognition.

    • GKLer


      Let’s see…. For starters, PH consumed over 50 trillion watt-hours of energy in 2009 alone. That translates to about 57 million 100-watt panels – assuming 100% output operating 24hrs x 365 days. So we need at least 3-4 times that (228 million 100-watt solar panels), since there is only about 6~8 hours of useful daylight. So, If each panel costs $200 (panel, mount, additional electrical infrastructure, installation manpower), you would need $46 billion dollars on the panels. The Philippines has about $100 billion in dollar reserves. But, after 10 years, the panels would only provide 90% power. After 20 years, 80% power. Naturally, as PH grows, it will need more power. Then you have to assume a significant number would have to be replaced every year due to typhoons, theft, etc. More importantly, you need ma$$ive energy storage, since there is no sunlight at night. Finally, 230-million 100-watt solar panels will occupy about 150 million square meters of land. The Philippines has about 300 billion square meters of land. Of course, we can use higher wattage solar panels, for 300 watt panels, we can cut the land area by 3 = we would still need over 50 million square meters of land = which is about 5000 hectares or more than 2x the size of Makati City.

      To the paying consumer – we would probably end up paying for the panels within 5 years (a reasonable time frame for any investment expecting a quick return). But assuming we just pay for the panels at face value, we will still likely pay over Php7 per kWh instead of the among the current highest rate in Asia of Php 0.03 per kWh. This may mean the collapse of the business and industrial sector heavily dependent on energy use.

      On wind… say we have a small 300 watt wind turbine – these produce based on wind velocity. So if you are getting a slight breeze of 2-3 meters per second, you can achieve about 5 watt-hours something like that – definitely not 300 watt-hours.

      So that’s the problem with renewable energy.

      • randyaltarejos

        It makes sense! But what’s the logic behind why other advanced countries had initiated moves to embark on gargantuan renewable energy projects? Just to give you a passing glance, California today is planning to transform vast tracts of its contaminated lands into viable sources of renewable energy sources like tapping wind and solar power to run industries. Your reasoning seems to be leaning to the point that developing countries like the Philippines has no capability of sustaining whatever renewable energy projects it plans to put on streams? Are renewable energy projects geared towards the advanced countries only?

      • GKLer

        Well, the logic … for one, the oil is running out. When it does, you will see the prices sky rocket as they have for the past 30 years. So countries will naturally find alternatives. It will also sky rocket when one oil producing country has supply issues due to war, politics etc..

        But it’s not just oil, many common materials we use are being depleted – some in as early as ~10 to 50 years. You can check Scientific American and Time magazine online on the articles and time estimates for global resource (raw materials) depletion including peak oil.

        I think the next natural step is to go with natural gas while you build up renewable resources (which includes geothermal, hydro, etc) and related technologies. The most aggressive country in terms of a renewable/hydrogen-from-water based economy is Germany.

        For the Philippines, giving up oil means giving up taxes for one. It requires political will when you likely have oil companies with politicians in their pockets ensuring we remain dependent on oil and its derivative products.

        This is one reason the Toyota Prius hybrid is so expensive locally, when it really should be about the same price as a Corolla – ie. Politicians + oil companies = expensive Prius.

        To make renewable effective, you really want to combine technologies. Meaning, let’s just say you have a lot of wind energy, but not enough storage (batteries) due to cost, safety and shelf life issues. You could use the wind turbine to compress air, and later use the compressed air on a compressed-air vehicle. In the past wind mills were used to mechanically pump water. For solar, you probably want just enough for the daytime energy use, no storage – again due to the storage issues involved. Another alternative is to use either wind and solar to generate hydrogen from water. Hydrogen has 3x more energy than gasoline. It can be your alternative to battery storage. Cars can run on hydrogen gas (the exhaust is basically just water once it is burned), or used in hydrogen fuel cells. Naturally all new technologies would have infrastructure and technical hurdles.

        Try this experiment called electrolysis, stick a battery into water with 5% (more than 5% won’t make a difference) electrolyte (ie. NaOH or KOH), you will get hydrogen and oxygen gas bubbling at the electrodes. If you want efficiency, lower the voltage (ie. about 1.4 to 2 volts DC) while trying to get the most current for an increased rate of production. Now instead of a battery, you can use solar, wind, geothermal, hydro, etc. The next problem is storage, safety, distribution, infrastructure, more research and technologies to support all that.

        –That’s basically where Germany is headed.

        PS. If you use another electrolyte like baking soda or table salt, be careful, you will produce hydrogen but instead of oxygen, you will produce toxic gases like chlorine (from NaCl) and carbon monoxide (from baking soda) at the electrodes.

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