Energy to the Philippines

Trends and opportunities

The market

The Philippines is one of the world’s fastest growing economies, having recorded a GDP growth of 6.8 per cent in 2016 and aiming for 6.5 to 7.5 per cent in 2017 and 7 to 8 per cent by 2022. With an ever-expanding domestic consumption, unprecedented public spending on infrastructure, rising services and manufacturing industry, increasing power generation while reducing costs is a top priority for the country.

Power Supply

As of 2017, the Philippines has a total installed capacity of 21,621 MW (compared to 14,348 MW in 2016), thanks to coal and solar power plants ( Source: Department of Energy, Electric Power Industry Management Bureau) .

Traditionally, the country’s energy mix has been 35-35-30 per cent, for coal, oil and gas, and renewables, respectively. Under the Duterte administration, the Department of Energy (DOE) is taking a “technology agnostic” approach. The energy mix will be based on demand and not on fuel supply. The load curve of the country must be 70 per cent baseload, 20 per cent mid-merit and 10 per cent peaking regardless of fuel type.

Coal (35 per cent of the installed capacity) is largely imported from Indonesia, followed by Australia. While the Philippine government is willing to increase the contribution of renewables, coal-fired power plant developments are still being pursued as the cheaper power generation option.

Natural gas currently (16 per cent of the installed capacity) is solely generated by the Malampaya Gas field. However, this field is set to be depleted by 2024. Natural gas pipelines and terminal facilities are therefore being considered to allow for importation.

Renewables (33 per cent of installed capacity) are largely hydro and geothermal. The Philippines is the second largest producer of geothermal energy in the world, next to the US. According to DOE, 344 hydropower projects have been approved and awarded, with a potential capacity of 7.4 GW. A further 191 hydropower projects are pending. However, reliability remains a challenge due to the Philippines being the third country most prone to natural disasters in the world. The National Renewable Energy Program (NREP) seeks to increase the RE-based capacity of the country to an estimated 15,304MW by 2030, almost triple its 2010 level.

Nuclear energy does not form part of the current energy mix and this will remain the case unless the Bataan nuclear power plant is rehabilitated.


Coal remains the major source of electricity for Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The country has a total of 208 power plants:

  • 21 coal power plants
  • 52 oil/gas/diesel-fired power plants
  • 135 renewable energy power plants

Most renewable energy plants are solar farms. There are new 19 grounded mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) cells in the country, most of which are in Luzon.


National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) is the sole transmission service provider of the country since 2009. It is a privately owned corporation with a 50-year concession to operate, maintain and expand the country’s state-owned power grid. NGCP manages over 31 thousand MVA substation capacities and over 20 thousand circuit-km transmission line.

The transmission system is composed of:

  • The Luzon Grid is interconnected with the Visayas Grid through high voltage direct current transmission line and submarine cables.
  • The Mindanao Grid, a stand-alone grid, is composed of long-distance transmission lines and primarily relies on hydropower.

The Transmission Development Plan (TDP) of the NGCP over a 10-year period includes the increase in load capacity and improves the system reliability of the transmission facilities of substations in Metro Manila, Visayas and in Mindanao. This is aimed to accommodate the incoming generating plants that will cater to the growing power demand of the country, particularly by the infrastructure sector. Another highlight of the TDP is the Mindanao Transmission Backbone Project, connecting Mindanao with the Visayas island. This will help ensure that electricity can be distributed and shared among the country’s three island groups.


The Philippine power distribution industry is handled by private companies. There are 146 distribution units in the Philippines - 27 Private Investor-Owned Utilities (PIOU) and 119 Electric Cooperatives.

  • Manila Electric Company (MERALCO) - The largest electric power distribution company in the country with almost 7 million household customers and an estimated market share of 34 per cent across the Philippines, as high as 53 per cent for Luzon. It has a mega franchise which covers 36 cities and 75 municipalities, including Metro Manila. About half of the country’s GDP is generated in Meralco’s franchise area.
  • Visayan Electric Company - The second largest electric utility in the Philippines with almost half a million household customers and an estimated market share of 2.4 per cent of the Philippines. It serves the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Talisay and Naga in Visayas and four municipalities of greater part of Metro Cebu. Its franchise area covers about 674 km with an estimated population of 1.73 million. Owned and managed by SN Aboitiz Power Corporation and Vivant Corporation.
  • Davao Light & Power Company - The third largest privately-owned electric distribution utility in the country with over 330,000 household customers and a market share of 1.5 per cent of the Philippines. Its franchise covers Davao city and Davao del Norte, as well as four municipalities in Mindanao. It is a subsidiary of SN Aboitiz Power Inc.
  • Electric Cooperatives (ECs) - The Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association, Inc. is the national organisation of 119 electric cooperatives operating in the Philippines. It has a total of over 13 million household customers accounting for over 56 per cent market share of the Philippines. ECs are non-stock non-profit organisation whose mandate is to implement extensive rural electrification program in order to promote agriculture and industries in the rural areas. Rural electrification address the increasing energy demands of the growing population in the rural areas. Household electrification rates by the ECs in Luzon and Visayas are almost 92 per cent each, while electrification rate in Mindanao is almost 73 per cent (Source: The Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association, Inc., July 2016).
  • Other Private Investor-Owned Utilities (PIOU) - There are a total of 24 remaining PIOUs --- 14 in Luzon, six in Visayas and four in Mindanao accounting for 5.5 per cent of the country’s total market share.


Engineering services for coal power plants such as Operations & Maintenance

There will be 45 coal operating plants by 2018 with a forecasted demand for 22 million metric tons (mmt) of coal. Most of these plants were built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries with 2-5 year warranty. Some of its turbines and boilers are from Asea Brown Boveri, General Electric and other branded manufacturers. There is a need for independent O&M contractors to reach maximum rated capacity. Coal supply

The Philippines has been and will continue to be a net importer of coal. Records from the Department of Energy (DOE) reveal that for the past decade total coal consumption was almost three times greater than domestic coal production with the deficit filled by coal imports. The demand for coal will increase to 22 mmt by 2018 and 30-40 mmt by 2030.

The demand for coal in the region is expected to triple in the next 25 years. [1] Australia’s third-biggest export to Southeast Asia is its thermal coal. International Energy Agency projects that there will be an increased demand from the Philippines for Australian coal. Records from the Department of Foreign Affairs reveal that coal imports from Australia reached AUD 82.8 million in 2016, a 93 per cent increase from the previous year. This is expected to increase as Australian coal will have zero tariff by 2018.

Liqeufied Natural Gas Supply and Engineering Services

The country has five operating gas-fired power plants with a total of 3,211 MW installed capacity equivalent to 16 per cent total installed capacity or 22 per cent of the Luzon grid (Source: Department of Energy, ‘Capacity Mix’, June 2016). The Malampaya gas field, the only source of natural gas, is expected to be depleted by 2022. To fill up the impending reduction in installed capacity the government and the private sector will have to work hand-in-hand to secure the supply of natural gas. The First Gen Corporation, the country’s leading clean and renewable company, will build its own LNG regasification terminal. This will prompt them to import natural gas before 2024. The project cost is A$1.32 billion but no Final Investment Decision has been released to date. The company is still trying to identify its foreign partner.

The Department of Energy (DOE), through the Philippine National Oil Corporation (PNOC), will build a 104km high pressure transmission natural gas pipeline from Batangas to Manila. It is expected that this project will be under the Public-Private Partnership agreement. There are eight other natural gas pipeline projects planned by the DOE for the period 2018 to 2024. Australian contractors can offer offshore pipeline technologies, software for analysing pipeline, and pipeline testing facilities to possible Engineering Procurement and Construction.

Innovative solar technology including battery storage and fast-charging batteries and other renewable energy technologies for off-grid areas

There has been an increase in the number of solar energy contracts from 7 in 2010 to 38 as of April 2017 (Source: Department of Energy, Solar & Wind Energy Management Division). An additional 128 solar farms are to be completed in the next two years. Total installed capacity from solar farms reach 900MW and is expected to increase to over 4,000 megawatts in the next two years. Solar energy is only good from 11am to 1pm. The Philippines require battery storage technology and associated services.

There is also a strong push by local government units to investigate and consider renewable energy sources. The National Renewable Energy Plan targets installed capacity from RE at 15,234MW by 2030. Australian RE developers may enter into partnerships to introduce technologies, particularly solar both for the power and transportation sectors.

Reinforcement of existing transmission facilities, submarine cables and substations of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines

The Luzon grid is geared towards the implementation of the new 500kV transmission facilities and new substations in anticipation of the load increase in the coming years from Metro Manila and industrialised areas in Cavite and Laguna and new major growth areas in Bulacan, Pampanga, Porac and Clark.

The Visayas grid will need to reinforce the 138kV submarine cable interconnections between Cebu, Negros and Panay to support the large generation capacity additions for coal-fired power plants and RE-based plants. The first stage is the additional submarine cable between Negros and Panay islands.

The Mindanao grid has been depending on hydro generation, which is a major concern during the dry season. There has been an increase in the number of committed coal-fired power plants in the region including expansion plans for the future. It is expected that there will be a total 600MW to 1200MW generation capacity each from three generation sites in Mindanao.

This could be more than enough for the Mindanao loads. NGCP is will pursue the Visayas-Mindanao Interconnection Project to allow export of power to the other grids.

Smart grid technology offers significant opportunities for Australian consultants and equipment supply providers. Instruments for accurate measurement, monitoring, control and analysis equipment are needed to ensure energy sources can be properly and reliably integrated into the grid and deliver a stable and cost-effective power supply regardless of seasons. The smart grid will also decrease system losses.

Consulting services for clean energy projects of the Asian Development Bank

The Asian Development Bank energy policy prioritises sustainable energy and low carbon development programs. The ADB had allotted A$7.95 billion annually for Climate Finance for years 2016 to 2020: A$2.65 billion for Adaptation and A$5.30 billion for Mitigation (renewables, energy efficiency, sustainable transport and sustainable cities). There is an opportunity for Australian consultants to participate in the design or implementation of these projects, including through the provision of technology and technical advisory services.

Competitive environment

Infrastructure developments such as the construction of coal-fired and RE power plants, port facilities, water management, pipelines, and operations and maintenance are usually contracted to local and foreign EPCs. Sub-contracting opportunities would be available to Australian consultants. Power plant hardware such as turbines, boilers are usually from Europe and the current RE technology is mainly sourced from Europe, Canada and US, although China is seen as a key and cheaper provider of solar technology and hardware such as solar battery storage and solar panels.

Tariffs, Regulations and Customs

Under the ASEAN-Australia New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) bituminous coking coal (HS Code 2710.12) will be zero tariff by 2018, from five per cent from 2012 to 2017.

Imported crude petroleum oils and refined petroleum products entered and withdrawn from warehouses in the Philippines for consumption is subject to the most-favoured-nation (MFN) rate of three per cent.

Feed-in-Tariff for Renewable Energy Projects

Feed-In Tariff (FIT) scheme, priority connection to the grid, fiscal and non-fiscal incentives are being offered to encourage Renewable Energy developments. The formation of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) framework under the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Law resulted in local and foreign investments in the power sector. To date, there are over 30 Independent Power Producers (IPPs) in the country (Source: Philippine Independent Power Producers Association, Inc).

The FIT for solar PVs is lowered to Php 8.69 per kWh from Php 9.69 per kWh in 2015.

In July 2012, the Energy Regulatory Commission adopted the modified feed-in-tariff levels for renewable energy electricity proposed by the National Renewable Energy Board in May 2011 (Source: International Energy Agency). FIT for solar has changed, while it has remained for other renewable energy installations.

Marketing your products and services

Market entry

Australian organisations interested in exploring opportunities in the Philippine energy sector are encouraged to work with local or foreign EPCs or directly with Independent Power Producers (IPPs). Many EPCs have businesses in neighbouring markets to capture active infrastructure projects.

For hardware products such as turbines and boilers and commodities, i.e. coal and natural gas, using an agent or distributor is a common and effective way to serve the market.

In order to be competitive in this market, Australian organisations particularly RE developers must introduce technology and provide test cases to the IPPs.


TechCon SE Asia 2018 – Theme “Life-management of High Voltage & Medium Voltage power equipment”, to be held in SMX Convention Centre, Manila on 23-25 April 2018.

Power & Electricity World Philippines 2018 incorporating solar, wind and energy storage shows, to be held in SMX Convention Centre, Manila on 23-24 May 2018.

Asian Development Bank (ADB) Asia Clean Energy Forum (ACEF) 2018 - On its 13th year, ACEF 2018 (tentatively set in June 2018) is the premier clean energy event organised by the ADB. Through targeted discussions and panels, delegates get updates and the latest information on key issues in the clean energy sector in Asia. More details will be available closer to the event.

Links and industry contacts

Department of Energy 
Energy Regulatory Commission 
National Electrification Administration 

Please note: This list of websites and resources is not definitive. Inclusion in this list does not imply endorsement by Austrade. The information provided is a guide only. The content is for information and carries no warranty; as such, the addressee must exercise their own discretion in its use. Australia’s anti-bribery laws apply overseas and Austrade will not provide business related services to any party who breaches the law and will report credible evidence of any breach. For further information, please see foreign bribery information and awareness pack.

Contact details

The Australian Trade and Investment Commission – Austrade – contributes to Australia's economic prosperity by helping Australian businesses, education institutions, tourism operators, governments and citizens as they:

  • develop international markets
  • win productive foreign direct investment
  • promote international education
  • strengthen Australia's tourism industry
  • seek consular and passport services.

Working in partnership with Australian state and territory governments, Austrade provides information and advice that can help Australian companies reduce the time, cost and risk of exporting. We also administer the Export Market Development Grant Scheme and offer a range of services to Australian exporters in growth and emerging markets.

Subscribe to Export Update

The latest in export news and events, success stories, plus information to help Australian exporters do business around the world.


Success stories

Austrade has profiled over 100 companies from a range of industries and markets, all over Australia.

Find out more...