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Energy Security in the Philippines (Thematic Report)

by Jae Hee Lee | 21-09-2023 19:05


As a developing Southeast Asian nation, the Philippines encounters three primary energy insecurity challenges:

  1. Population growth has led to a rapid surge in electricity demand.
  2. Shortages in electricity supply are frequent relative to demand.
  3. A significant gap in access to electricity between urban areas and rural regions.

 1. Energy Insecurity and Results

President Marocs stated in his second State of the Nation Address, "We are still considered to be among the fastest-growing economies in the Asian region and the world.¡± Population growth is followed by  more individuals and families in need of electricity. However, in the Philippines 

over 11 million Filipinos remain without electricity. This results in migration in which Filipinos from rural areas move to cities in search of better living conditions. A growing trend in migration further highlights the gap in electrification rates within regions. 

2.  Causes to Energy Insecurity

There are many explanations to energy insecurity in the Philippines. 

  1. Geographical Location: The Philippines is situated in a geographical vulnerable location. According to ScienceDirect, over a twenty year period from 2000 to 2019, the Philippines recorded 304 disaster events including typhoons, earthquakes,  volcanic eruptions, etc. These events  damage  the country¡¯s energy infrastructure and generation/ distribution of power. 
  2. Lack of  Resources: The Philippines is known to still rely heavily on imported fossil fuels (oil, coal, etc). Dependence on this external energy source not only harms their environment, but also allows them to be extremely vulnerable to price fluctuations and limited supply, leading to energy insecurity.
  3. Rising electricity costs: As stated above, reliance on fossil fuel sources for electricity generation raises costs of electricity in the Philippines.  With 18.1% of the population living below the national poverty line in 2021, high electricity costs often burden many households, limiting access to electricity. 

3. Solutions

  1.   Investments in Renewable Energy

Only 26.44% of the total electricity in the Philippines comes from renewable sources. Further renewable energy sources such as hydro and geothermal, solar, wind, etc. Provide subsidies or benefits to encourage further development. 

  1. Develop Disaster preparedness

Develop response plans to minimize impact of natural disasters on electrical distribution. Continue government initiatives such as the  "Buong Bansa Handa."