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RP inches towards energy security

Manila (26 February) -- The government's energy security thrust designed to hike the country's energy sufficiency to 60 percent by 2010 and contribute significantly to the reduction in damaging carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere is on track.

The energy security thrust has found solid support in Hedcor, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Aboitiz Ventures, Inc. which has invested P5.1 billion in the Sibulan Hydropower Project located in Barangay Sibulan here. The project is one of the biggest investments of the Aboitiz Group in the power sector.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is scheduled to visit the Sibulan Hydropower Project site here Thursday (February 26) morning. The project which will tap the water flow of the Sibulan and Baroring rivers in Davao del Sur, has a designed power generating capacity of 42.5 megawatts.

The hydro project's engineering scheme appeals to local folks here because it involves no dam construction and no water impounding, and therefore no undue risks of flooding or people displacements in cases of technical accidents or force majeure.

The facility is expected to generate a sizable volume of clean or "green energy" annually for the Mindanao Grid, and help address the global threat of global warming and climate change since it will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 80,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year.

Hydropower generation produces essentially no carbon dioxide or other harmful emissions, unlike burning fossil fuels.

Earlier, President Arroyo said energy security demands the development of indigenous and renewable sources, including geothermal, domestic oil and gas, solar, wind, wave and biofuels. Harnessing renewable energy comprises a critical component of the government's energy security strategy.

Increased power generation from geothermal, hydro and other indigenous resources has significantly reduced the country's dependence on imported fossil fuels. The government has likewise tapped renewable energy sources such as solar, micro-hydro, wind and biomass resources in its rural electrification efforts.

The Department of Energy (DOE) said renewable energy is foreseen to satisfy 40 percent of the country's primary energy requirements over a ten-year period beginning in 2003.

Biomass, micro-hydro, solar and wind will remain as major contributors to the total share of renewable energy in the energy mix with an average share of 27.5 percent, according to the DOE. Hydro and geothermal will account for the balance of the indigenously generated energy.

Given the country's vast hydropower potential, it is projected that more than 10 percent of the country's electricity requirements can be supplied by hydropower.

With the Renewable Energy Law in place, observers said the Philippines is on track in its quest to wean itself away from imported fossil fuel that accounts for most of the country's air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. (PND) [top]

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