The International Energy Agency (IEA) said the Philippines is expected to be among the top five importers of biofuels come 2026.
This comes as the Paris-based autonomous intergovernmental organization forecasts a wider deployment of renewable energy for electricity, transport, and heating by then.
“The Philippines joins the top five import list as a stable ethanol blending requirement, increasing gasoline demand and a historically high import ratio lead to growing imports,” the IEA said in its Renewables 2021 analysis and forecast report. Canada leads the list, followed by the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Japan.
The IEA was particularly referring to bioethanol used in gasoline called E10, a low-level blend composed of 10% ethanol and 90% regular unleaded gasoline.
Former Asian Institute of Petroleum Studies Managing Director Rafael Diaz said in a BusinessWorld report that the IEA’s projection is valid given the shrinking local production of sugarcane.
Based on data from the United States Department of Agriculture, output of sugarcane — the Philippines’ domestic source of ethanol — for the current crop year beginning in September may only reach 2.14 million metric tons (MT), down from last year’s 2.15 million MT.
Asked whether expanding imports would violate Republic Act 9367 or the Biofuels Act of 2006, Diaz said the law stipulates the use of “indigenous” sources of ethanol. The said law aims to reduce dependence on imported fuels and bars the import of biofuels.