What Is The Highest Renewable Energy Potential In The Philippines?

The Philippines has tremendous potential for renewable energy, including solar, wind, hydropower, geothermal and ocean energy. Renewable energy currently accounts for over 26% of the country’s total installed power capacity. The Philippines has set ambitious goals to increase renewable energy utilization, aiming for 35% of all power generation from renewables by 2030 and 50% by 2040.

The archipelagic geography of the Philippines provides ideal conditions to harness various renewable energy sources. The tropical climate lends itself well to solar and biomass energy generation. Additionally, the mountainous terrain and abundant coastlines allow for hydropower and ocean energy opportunities. However, despite the high potential, there are still challenges to scaling up adoption of renewables nationwide.

Solar Energy Potential

The Philippines has excellent solar energy potential due to its location near the equator and the many hours of sunlight it receives. The country has an average solar irradiance of 5 kWh/m2/day, ranging from a low of 3.5 kWh/m2/day in General Santos City to a high of 5.5 kWh/m2/day in Laoag City. In addition, the average peak sun hours per day in the Philippines is 5.5, with about 1,460-2,200 hours of actual sunlight per year. This means that solar panels can actively capture the sun’s rays for an average of 5.5 hours per day throughout the country.

The areas with the highest solar potential are Northern Luzon, Western Visayas, and northern parts of Mindanao. These regions have the most numbers of daylight hours as well as the highest levels of solar irradiance. Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon also receive abundant sunlight, while areas in Eastern Visayas and Palawan receive slightly less solar resources. Nonetheless, the solar energy potential across the entire Philippines remains high compared to many countries due to its advantageous geographic location.

Wind Energy Potential

The Philippines has moderate wind energy potential, with average wind speeds of 5-7 meters per second in key areas suitable for wind farms. According to wind resource mapping studies, several areas have sufficient wind speeds for utility-scale wind projects, such as the northern and central parts of Luzon, offshore areas in western Luzon, the eastern part of the Visayas, and some coastal areas in northern Mindanao.

The highest quality wind resources are found in northwest Luzon, where average wind speeds can reach above 7 meters per second at 80 meter hub heights. Other areas with good wind speeds include Batanes, Cagayan Valley, central Luzon, Mindoro, Leyte, and parts of Negros and Panay islands. However, the wind resource is very site-specific and requires detailed on-site wind data collection and analysis to identify economically viable project locations.

Overall, the technical potential for wind power in the Philippines could be as high as 76 GW, but the economically feasible potential is estimated at around 8 GW. To fully harness this potential, investments in wind measurement facilities, grid infrastructure upgrades, policy improvements, and wind project development are still needed.

Hydropower Potential

The Philippines has substantial potential for hydropower development, given its numerous rivers and waterways. The largest and most utilized river system is the Agus-Pulangi River in Mindanao, with installed capacity of 964 MW. Other major river systems like the Agno, Pantabangan, Binga, and Ambuklao also have existing hydropower facilities. However, it is estimated that the country has only developed around 20% of its hydropower potential so far. There remains over 2,000 MW of untapped small and mini hydropower resources spread across the archipelago. With the right investments and strategy, hydropower can continue to provide clean, renewable baseload power for the country’s growing energy needs.

Geothermal Energy Potential

The Philippines has significant geothermal energy potential thanks to its location along the “Pacific Ring of Fire” zone of high volcanic and seismic activity. There are over 200 volcanoes across the archipelago, of which 22 are active. This provides a substantial source of underground heat that can be harnessed for geothermal power generation.

As of 2020, the installed geothermal power capacity in the Philippines stood at 1,916 MW, accounting for about 11% of the country’s total power generation mix. The Philippines ranks second globally in geothermal power production after the United States. The Department of Energy estimates the country’s theoretical potential geothermal capacity at up to 3,400 MW, meaning there is still room for growth in tapping this renewable energy source.

Key geothermal fields currently being harnessed include Tiwi-MakBan in Albay/Sorsogon, Tongonan in Leyte, Palinpinon in Negros Oriental, and Mindanao. However, many areas remain untapped, presenting opportunities if challenges around high development costs and environmental considerations can be addressed.

Biomass Energy Potential

The Philippines has significant potential for biomass energy due to its agricultural sector and forest resources. The country produces large amounts of agricultural waste including rice husks, coconut shells, sugarcane bagasse, and wood residues. Studies estimate the annual production of rice husks at 3 million metric tons, coconut shells at 6 million metric tons, bagasse at 2 million metric tons, and wood/wood wastes at 1 million metric tons.

Rice husks, in particular, offer great biomass energy potential. The Philippines is one of the world’s largest rice producers, with 4.8 million hectares of land devoted to rice cultivation. Converting rice husks to energy can produce up to 72 MW of electricity. Coconut shells are another plentiful biomass resource, given the Philippines’ standing as the world’s second largest coconut producer.

The country’s timberlands span 7.2 million hectares, offering a steady supply of wood biomass. Sawmills and wood processing facilities generate significant wood residues and offcuts. Harnessing this woody biomass can produce biofuels, biopower and bioenergy. Dendrobium species, in particular, have shown potential for biodiesel production. Sustainable use of forest resources for energy can support rural development and provide an alternative to slash-and-burn agriculture.

Ocean Energy Potential

The Philippines has immense potential for ocean energy, primarily from harnessing wave and tidal power along its extensive coastline. With over 36,000 km of coastline, the Philippines has one of the longest coastlines in the world. This provides a massive resource for generating electricity from the ocean.

The waves around the Philippines can produce 10-20 kW per meter of wave front. This renewable energy source is very predictable and consistent throughout the year. Several feasibility studies have identified multiple high-potential sites for installing wave energy converters, such as in Northern Luzon, Northwest Panay, and eastern Mindanao.

Tidal power is another promising ocean energy resource for the Philippines. Areas like San Bernardino Strait and Surigao Strait have strong tidal currents that can be tapped to generate electricity. Tidal range facilities could also be built in estuaries and bays where the difference between high and low tides is over 5 meters. With advanced tidal technologies, the ocean energy potential in the Philippines from waves and tides could provide gigawatts of clean, renewable electricity.

Highest Potential Renewable

When comparing the renewable energy potentials across solar, wind, hydropower, geothermal and biomass in the Philippines, geothermal energy emerges as having the greatest potential for power generation. The Philippines sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire and has a number of active volcanoes and geothermal spots spread across the archipelago. In particular, geothermal energy in the Philippines is mainly concentrated in Leyte, North Cotabato, and Negros Island. According to estimates, the country has around 4,500 MW of untapped geothermal power potential. In contrast, solar and wind have intermittent generation issues that limit their scale, while hydropower and biomass face resource constraints. With abundant untapped reserves and baseload capacity, geothermal energy is best positioned to make a major contribution to the renewable energy mix in the Philippines. Proper management and sustainable development of geothermal resources can support the country’s energy goals.


While the Philippines has immense renewable energy potential, there are some key challenges that need to be addressed for large-scale adoption.

One major challenge is grid stability. As more variable renewable energy from solar and wind is added to the grid, it can cause issues with frequency control and voltage management. Upgrades and modernization of the grid infrastructure will be needed.

Energy storage is another critical issue. Solar and wind power are intermittent resources, so energy storage systems like batteries and pumped hydro will be required to smooth out supply. Currently, storage capacity in the Philippines is very limited.

Infrastructure constraints also pose a problem. Many areas with high renewable potential are remote islands and rural areas with limited transmission capacity. Major investments in transmission lines and interconnections will be necessary.

Overcoming these grid stability, storage, and infrastructure challenges will be key for the Philippines to tap into its vast renewable energy potential.


To summarize, the Philippines has significant potential for renewable energy development, particularly in solar, wind, hydropower, geothermal and biomass sources. However, more investment will be needed to fully harness these abundant resources and transition the country towards a clean energy future.

geothermal power station tapping renewable energy in the philippines.

Looking ahead, it is expected that renewable energy will continue to expand its share in the Philippines’ energy mix. With supportive government policies, emerging technologies and lowering costs, renewable energy can help meet the country’s rapidly growing electricity demand in an affordable and sustainable manner. Tapping into indigenous renewables will also strengthen energy security, create jobs and support local economic development across the archipelago.

While some challenges remain, the Philippines is well-positioned to become a renewable energy leader in Southeast Asia. With the right strategies and enabling frameworks, the country could maximise its high renewable energy potential for a more resilient and low-carbon future.

Similar Posts