Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Greening the grid

PRESIDENT Aquino has committed to further increase government’s multibillion-peso annual spending for various infrastructure and power projects in the remaining months of his term, which ends on June 30, 2016.
The President said the Philippines has a total dependable capacity of 15,665 MW which should be sufficient to meet the country’s projected demand level of 10,222 MW for 2015, although many Filipinos still have their fingers crossed on this assumption.
He said a total of 48 committed incoming power projects with 4,693.6 megawatts of power are expected to come online between now and 2018. He added that out of the 48 power plants, 21 will be from renewable energy, in line with government’s goal of diversifying the energy mix and building a power supply that is as clean and reasonably priced as possible.
“As you can see, we are determined to continue treading green pathways to development, and to maintain our status as one of the driving forces for clean energy in the region. As I have said before, our vulnerabilities to climate risk should not keep us from exerting maximum efforts in pursuing non-conventional sources of energy. We are hopeful that the rest of the world will see the value in such a strategy,” he said.
The development of renewable energies and the implementation of new clean technologies offers the opportunity to diminish our dependence on fossil fuels, reduce the emission of CO2, fighting climate change and creating new jobs.
We have a unique opportunity to break away from our fossil fueled past and head towards a greener future.
There are new technologies and new sustainable ways to power the country. The Philippines could, indeed, emerge as the most aggressive country in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) region when it comes to renewable energy development.
Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla said 2014 saw a very strong jumpstart for renewable energy, with the country having built some 400 megawatts (MW) from wind, 50 MW from solar and over 100 MW from hydro and biomass. This was accomplished despite the fact that the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) is not fully ready to connect renewable-energy projects to the power grid.
At this point the NGCP has a lot of catching up to do in terms of integration. Because the RE developers are much faster than they are ready to accommodate new projects.
The Philippines’s National Renewable Energy Program, under the RE law of 2008, targets to install 15,304 MW of installed renewable capacity by 2030.
The DOE has presently endorsed to the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) a total Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) capacity of 304.05 MW from various types of RE. FIT serves as a mechanism for RE developers to be utilized, amid its expensive installations and technology costs.
The Economist said in a report that the global RE capacity has increased by more than 8 percent in 2014 than 2013, reaching a total 1,560 gigawatts (GW).
The biggest contributor to the worldwide boost came from hydropower capacity, a 4-percent increase from last year, while other renewables totaled a boost of 17 percent, contributing 560 GW.
Similarly, the Philippines’s biggest RE power producer is still hydro, at 3,536 MW as of 2013 DOE figures.
The DOE has awarded around 200 service contracts for hydro-power projects to private companies as of last year.
Then there is wind power and the newly operated wind farms in Ilocos Norte and Panay, which have already added 303 MW to the country’s power supply.
Wind energy is garnering a lot of support, indeed.
The two wind farms in Bangui and Caparispisan of AC Energy Holdings Inc. were recently issued FIT eligibility by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).
Earlier, the Lopez-run geothermal firm Energy Development Corp. (EDC) received its FIT compliance certification for its 150-megawatt Burgos wind project in Burgos, Ilocos Norte, which is the largest wind farm in the country and in the region, with a total of $450 million poured into the project.
The 150-MW BWP is physically connected to the grid and is delivering power to the transmission. The wind farm is expected to generate approximately 370 GWh annually and power 200,000 households. It will augment the Luzon grid’s dependable capacity which needs an additional 4,200MW in the next 10 years due to the projected 4.5% annual increase in electricity demand.
The Burgos wind farm will also help mitigate climate change as it will displace around 200,000 tons of carbon emissions annually. The project is also expected to generate a significant number of jobs and boost economic activity in the host province, proof that with cheaper, cleaner, greener power comes more investors and also more new jobs.

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