In 2022, the Philippines' energy landscape is primarily dominated by fossil fuels, with coal and gas together contributing to more than half of the total electricity generation at approximately 102 TWh. The remainder is contributed by low-carbon sources, accounting for 25.45 TWh. Among these clean energy sources, geothermal stands out at 11.67 TWh followed by hydropower, biofuels, and solar energy. This juxtaposition indicates that the Philippines is considerably reliant on fossil energy to power its population, resulting in an average energy consumption that falls below the global average of 410 watts per person. Consequently, the nation potentially grapples with undercapacity issues, which hinders industrial and economic growth, and is also likely to exacerbate the nation's carbon footprint.
In order to elevate its low-carbon electricity production, the Philippines can draw inspiration from various global frontrunners. Countries with similar geographical features, such as Brazil and India, have successfully harnessed solar and wind energy to generate significant portions of their electricity. Particularly, India's solar prowess is noteworthy with a generation of 119 TWh, while Brazil's exploitation of wind energy, generating 94 TWh, is a viable model for the Philippines. These countries, as well as others like Spain and Australia, exhibit the potential for the Philippines to expand its own solar and wind capabilities. Additionally, considering the Philippines' geothermal potential, further exploration and development of this resource can also bolster its low-carbon electricity generation.
The history of low-carbon electricity in the Philippines has been a steady journey, marked by ups and downs. The nation's reliance on hydro-electric power is visible throughout the late 20th and early 21st centuries given its abundant water resources. Notably, there were consistent efforts to ramp up hydro power generation during the 1980s and early 1990s, despite facing setbacks caused by fluctuating water levels in the 1991 and 1997. Towards the end of the 20th century, the country ventured into geothermal energy with a notable increase in generation from 1998 to 2000. The 21st century saw a further push for hydro power, with significant increments in the years 2006, 2008, and 2011, but also some setbacks in between. The entry of solar energy onto the clean energy scene in 2016 signaled a diversification of the low-carbon electricity mix, while a surge in biofuels production in 2019 hinted towards a potential new direction for the country's clean energy sector.