Philippines turn to volcanoes and wind for energy

The Philippines is positioned to become a significant producer of renewable energy — which is a good thing, as the country is currently saddled with a $61 billion national debt, a growing oil-importation bill, and an increasing appetite for energy. Currently, geothermal and hydropower provide a third of the nation’s electricity output, but there’s potential for geothermal and wind to provide a lot more, as the Philippines straddles a string of volcanoes and is subject to frequent typhoons. This week the Filipino government pledged to double its renewable energy output by 2013 by becoming the world’s leading producer of geothermal energy and upping use of wind, solar, hydro, and biofuels. Still, the plan has been met with some skepticism from both the financial and environmental communities, given the Philippine government’s history of financial mismanagement and other problems.