The Philippines Energy Department is planning to grow their total geothermal energy capacity another 1.445 GW by 2030. They already have an installed capacity of 1.848 GW, so the additional gigawatts would be a 75% increase. Their Energy Department website says employing geothermal has saved billions of dollars since the 1970s, because they did not not have to purchase as much foreign fuel oil to run power generators.
About 17% of the country’s electricity is currently supplied by geothermal power. (Most electricity in the Philippines comes from coal plants.)
The existing geothermal capacity breakdown by region is:
915 MW in Visayas
824 MW in Luzon
108 MW in Mindinao
Unfortunately, in parallel to the planned geothermal development is the trend to build more coal power plants. For example, a 600MW plant is planned for Subic, a 400 MW plant for Pagbilao, 300MW for Mindinao and one in Cebu, as well as several others across the country. Tragically, one is being considered as well for Palawan, though this region is one of the natural jewels of the Philippines and a top tourist destination due to its ecological splendor.
Of course, coal generates very unhealthy air pollution, while geothermal virtually generates none. Coal power plants also contribute greatly to climate change, whereas geothermal barely does at all. Coal may be cheap in terms of dollars, but its public health and environmental costs are huge.
The Philippines is one of the top geothermal energy producers in the world, and is blessed with even more potential for further development. Geothermal, solar, hydro power and wind power have none of the typical negative impacts, yet the thinking that allows more coal plants to be constructed prevails at the highest levels of government around the world. The Philippines has so much natural beauty and tourism, it would seem to an especially good place to invest heavily in renewable energy.
Electricity consumption there may double by 2020.
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