Upskilling of workers for wind energy dev’t pushed
MANILA -The Department of Energy (DOE) is looking into local workforce upskilling and positioning the country as an Asian training hub to help accelerate offshore wind development in the region.
In his recent ministerial visit to Denmark, Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla said scaling offshore wind development through workforce training would be a key driver to the Philippines’ green energy transition.
“If we are one of the first movers into offshore wind, then the potential for our being a first mover in the training space would also be there,” Lotilla said.
Danish Ambassador to the Philippines Franz-Michael Mellbin also recognized the Philippines’ potential for labor force upskilling, citing the country’s “English-proficient and highly globalized workforce.”
He noted that the DOE needed to first create a policy on the development of its pool of skilled workers, specifically in the wind industry.
In turn, Mellbin called on industry leaders to invest in such efforts “because they have a direct interest [in upskilling], as everybody needs talents,” adding that Denmark was open to initiating a partnership with the country.
The DOE in March signed three service contracts with Danish firm Copenhagen Infrastructure New Markets Fund for $5 billion worth of offshore wind projects in the Philippines.
This is the country’s first 100-percent foreign-owned offshore wind development, with a combined capacity of 2,000 megawatts (MW).
These will be built in Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur (1,000 MW), Northern Samar (650 MW) and Pangasinan and La Union (350 MW) within President Marcos’ term.
In late 2022, Copenhagen Energy signed incorporation documents with local renewable energy firm PetroGreen Energy Corp. for the development of three offshore wind projects with a total capacity of 4 gigawatts.
Lotilla also recognized the need to build green and smart transmission systems and other critical infrastructure such as ports to support offshore wind development.
He added that the government was considering different models for port development and integration that would suit various modes of deployment for offshore wind.
The country’s energy chief explained, however, that the Philippines would need support from more developed countries to fast-track clean energy transition.
“In this transition to accessible, reliable and clean energy, the [Philippines] needs support from developed countries like Denmark, as well as from other development partners,” Lotilla said.
For its part, the Danish Energy Agency vowed to extend advisory support to the Philippines to advance the latter’s renewable energy transition efforts.
To date, the DOE has awarded 57 offshore wind contracts with a total potential capacity of about 42,000 MW that will be developed in the coming years. INQ