The Department of Energy (DOE) hosted on Tuesday (3 July), an international conference and capacity building workshop on biomass, as part of the overall strategy for sustainable energy development in Southeast Asia.
The workshop was conducted under the auspices of the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA), which is part of the 6th Power and Energy Infrastructure Cluster (PEIC) Meeting. This activity underscores the importance of biomass and biofuels as abundant indigenous resources in the region for power supply and rural electrification.
“It is fundamental to the country’s sustainable energy agenda to develop and utilize our indigenous renewable energy resources. This is vital to achieving energy self-reliance, strengthening climate change mitigation measures and ushering in socio-economic advancement in rural areas,” said Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi in his opening remarks that was delivered by Undersecretary Benito L. Ranque.
Cusi further emphasized that renewable energy is key to progress. “It empowers more than our cities, more than our machines and more than entire industries. Renewable energy fuels our movement towards the rebuilding of this nation.”
The Philippines, Indonesia and Sarawak, Malaysia presented their respective bioenergy policies, utilization technologies and policy implementation updates to about 80 participants comprised of international delegates, local government units, national government agencies, and electric cooperatives.
The workshop enabled BIMP-EAGA Member States to exchange best practices, initiatives and experiences on the effective implementation of a bioenergy and biofuels program.
The event was also an opportunity for the agency to promote the investment potential of the Philippines, particularly in Palawan and Mindanao, given their vast biomass reserves and suitable plantation areas.
The DOE also presented the Biomass Resource Assessment, a product of the technical assistance program funded by the United States Agency for International Development in 2013. The study revealed that biomass utilization would yield a potential power generation capacity of 4,448 megawatts (MW). It would also reduce CO2 emissions by an estimated 17.25 million tons.
In July 2017, BIMP-EAGA PEIC conducted a similar workshop on solar energy utilization for rural electrification in Bintulu, Sarawak, Malaysia.
The BIMP-EAGA sub-regional cooperation initiative was established to help member states address social and economic challenges in remote territories. For the Philippines, the focal areas are Mindanao and Palawan.
Since the passage of the Biofuels Act of 2006 and the Renewables Act of 2008, the country has been implementing a 2% coco-methyl ester blend for diesel and a 10% ethanol blend on gasoline. In addition, total installed capacity for biomass is already at 530 MW.