I had the same question before. Just like what others were thinking, I thought Solar Energy in Mindanao is just another fad and will dwindle in the long run. Thanks to the effort of the Management of CEPALCO for proving me wrong! After listening to that lecture by Engr. Cecilio Sumaoy, we were enlightened and we all realized that it’s high time for the Mindanaoans to fully understand the reliability and effectiveness of the Solar Energy and ACT NOW to support this development plan for Mindanao and for its people.
Mindanao is SHORT in power capacity. 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.
FYI, in Mindanao we have Diesel, Geothermal, Coal and Hydro as major players in providing its people electricity. 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 installed cost is declining! Why? Because its demand is increasing year by year as dozens of countries and millions of people are utilizing it already.
- Solar Energy is the cheapest alternative and probably the fastest power plant to complete (in case the power plant is approved! 100MW in one year!)
- Solar Energy can supply the world’s total energy requirement for the next hundred years!
- Solar energy technology is less maintenance and low operating cost.
- Solar panels may last to up to 30 years.
- Electricity from Solar Energy is covered by the Renewable Energy Law.
The following are the existing RE Technology
- 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 (the 1 MW 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 RE 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 why say no to Solar Energy in Mindanao? I am a definite YES!