The Philippines is due to sign rules on Monday to implement a law encouraging investments in renewable energy, a move expected to cut the country's reliance on imported fuel, a senior official said on Thursday.
The law provides tax breaks to prospective investors in hydropower, solar, geothermal, ocean and biomass energy, offering the Philippines alternative sources of energy to meet rising power demand.
It's scheduled for signing by Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes on Monday, Mario Marasigan, director at the government's Energy Utilisation Management Bureau, told Reuters when asked about rules needed to implement the Renewable Energy Act enacted in December.
Among the fiscal incentives available to potential investors include a seven-year income tax holiday and duty free importation of equipment, said Marasigan.
The guidelines will take effect 15 days after they are signed and published in major newspapers, he said.
Lorenzo Tan, president of conservation group WWF-Philippines, said the imminent release of the guidelines would be good news to many investors waiting in the wings.
I think this is going to be a very dramatic time because we're going to see a lot of people announcing very innovative investment in renewable energy, from biomass to hydropower to wind to methane, Tan said.
About 33 percent of the Philippines' energy mix is comprised of renewable energy, including geothermal and hydro, said Marasigan. The goal is to increase that to 40 percent in around 10 years, he said, citing the long gestation period for renewable projects.
The law would also boost investments in the Southeast Asian nation's geothermal resources. The Philippines is the second-largest geothermal producer in the world after the United States.
At end 2008, Marasigan said the country was 58 percent self-sufficient in its energy needs and imported the remainder, mainly oil and coal.
(Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr., Editing by Peter Blackburn)