Last Saturday September 3, 2011, The CDOBloggers group was invited to a Solar Energy Awareness Talk spearheaded by CEPALCO, the local electric distribution company in Cagayan de Oro City. The speaker was Engr. Cecilio Sumaoy. We were enlightened and we all realized that it’s high time for the Mindanao people to fully understand the reliability and effectiveness of the Solar Energy and support the development plan for Mindanao its economic growth and future power needs that is sustainable.
Mindanao will be short in power capacity in the very near future. As the population grows and as the economy of Mindanao prospers, the demand of power also increases. That is a fact right now. So how will the current Power Plants address these fast growing demands without us experiencing all those annoying blackouts? Yes, probably the current Power Plants we have now will help but until when? Below is a part of the news I got from Philippine Star concerning the tight electricity supply situation in Mindanao.
Energy Secretary Rene Almendras said the government is also concerned over the tight electricity supply situation in Mindanao especially because reserve energy margins remained below the targeted 21 percent, which could plunge the island into daily brownouts again if a power plant or unit breaks down.
In 2010, a dry spell brought by El Niño caused water levels to go critical in Mindanao’s hydro plants, causing a rotating daily brownout that stunted a three-fold increase in its economy in the last three years of the Arroyo administration.
Even with plans by Conal Holdings, Inc., owned by the Alcantara-led Alsons, Inc., to put up two 200-megawatt coal-fired power plants in Sarangani and Zamboanga, and a P25-billion plan by Aboitiz Power, owned by the Aboitiz family which divested its maritime cargo business to go into the energy industry, to construct a power plant in Davao, power demand in Mindanao is expected to exceed supply by 2014.
Almendras said the Department of Energy is considering the transfer of oil-fired power barges and the re-commissioning of a 35-megawatt thermal plant in Iligan to offset a very tight electricity supply situation in Mindanao as power supply margins last summer had breached the required 21 percent despite the full generation performance of its hydro-electric power plants.
Local economists have bewailed the current high electricity costs in the Philippines as the major contributor to the rapid decline in the country’s competitiveness in the world market, with neighbors like Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand offering rates as low as 5-7 cents per kilowatthour against the Philippines’ 23 cents.
In Mindanao our electricity is mostly produce from Diesel, Geothermal, Coal and Hydro. These sources are finite and dwindling while Solar Energy has always been there for the longest time and has been utilized by other fast growing countries.
So Why SOLAR ENERGY?
The biggest factor why most people refuse Solar Energy in Mindanao is because of its COST. It’s expensive! It’s not practical! That’s the argument.
Well here are some Facts:
Solar installation cost is declining! Because the demand is increasing fast and the production cost is getting down since the technology is mature already. Solar Energy is the cheapest alternative and one of the fastest way to put up in large scale power plant where it can be setup in less than a year. Solar Energy can supply the world’s total energy requirement for the next hundred years! Electricity from Solar Energy is covered by the Renewable Energy Law.
The following are the existing Renewable Power Technology in the Philippines:
- Wind – All located in LUZON
- Ocean – All located in LUZON
- Hydro – Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao
- Biomass – mostly in Luzon and Visayas
- Solar – Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao (including the 1MW we have in Cagayan de Oro)
Now, did you know that even if those Renewable Energy Technologies are largely located and consumed by the people from Luzon and Visayas, we here in Mindanao are also paying? YES DEFINITELY! That is because of this Renewable Energy Law below:
FiT-All (Feed in Tariff Allowance) – The FIT-All is considered most relevant among the calculations because this manifests the pass-on effect on the consumers’ electricity bills. ALL electricity end users are required to pay a uniform Peso/kWh charge as a feed-in tariff allowance (FIT-All), which will be placed in a fund from which the payments to renewable energy developers will be paid. This FIT-All, which will be determined annually, will appear as a separate line item on customers’ bills.
It simply means, even if the people of Mindanao chose to do NOTHING, Mindanao consumers will still end up paying for those Renewable Energies already established. So why are we all just sit around opposing the generation of a Solar Energy in Mindanao while other consumers from Luzon and Visayas are enjoying their own Renewable Energy with us here in Mindanao paying at the same time?
Come to think of it, the cost of Mindanao electricity usage through Solar Energy divided by the whole Electricity consuming population of the entire Philippines? Do you still think it’s expensive? We are just talking about the cost issue here. How about its effect to our failing environment? That’s a HUGE bonus! So let’s support the rapid development of Solar Energy in Mindanao so we will not be left behind.