Mainstreaming renewable energy in Minda pushed-A A +A
By Bobby Lagsa
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
THE Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperative (Amreco) and the Mindanao Congress of the Advocates for Renewable Energy, Rural Electrification and Development (MinCARED) is pushing for a policy in the energy industry that will mainstream renewable energy in Mindanao.
Amreco has 33 member-electric cooperatives and accounts for 1,941,554 residential consumers in Mindanao.
Twenty-seven of the member coops are hooked up with the island’s transmission grid while another six operate in the off-grid islands surrounding the main island of Mindanao.
Amreco president Sergio Dagooc said the association will push for a policy that will give renewable energy at least 10 megawatt of investment for every 100 megawatt of power investment.
Dagooc revealed Amreco’s thrust during the regular meeting on Amreco members on Tuesday in Cagayan de Oro City.
Amreco is also preparing for its second annual general assembly in May 2013.
The push for a large part of investment on renewable energy is aimed at keeping the prices of power in the island affordable to consumers as the energy industry is anchoring the sustainable power growth via mixed power source.
Romeo Montenegro, Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) director for Investment Promotions and Public Affairs, said it is imperative for Mindanao to lobby and push for renewable energy sources and utilize mini hydro power plants which can be built on rivers, which the island has in abundance.
MinDA is the chair of the Mindanao Power Monitoring Committee (MPMC) that aggressively focuses on the power generation in Mindanao.
The power situation in Mindanao is worsening as dry season spell decreases the water resource for the hydropower plant of the island that is the main source of power in Mindanao.
Power outages in the island, especially in distribution areas with no embedded capacity would result to as much as eight hours of blackouts.
Amreco, MinDA, MinCARED, and the Institute of Power Sector Economy (IPSEC) is proactive in pushing for small hydro power plants, biomass and solar power sources to accompany fossil fuel power plants such as coal and diesel.
Dr. Ricardo Rotoras, President of the Mindanao University of Science and Technology (MUST) and MinCARED/IPSEC said Mindanao has the lowest power price due to the island’s reliance on hydro power plant.
Montenegro said that because of the hydropower plant, a consumer is only paying P2.96 for its power.
However, in 2016, when the new coal power plant under construction will operate, the island will experience a shift from hydro-based to mixed power source.
At the moment, Mindanao only has one 300 megawatts (MW) coal fired power plant in STEAG State Power in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental.
The power shortage in Mindanao is caused by the decrepitude of the Agus-Pulangi hydropower complex in Bukidnon and Lanao del Sur.
These hydropower dams are affected by decreasing rainfall resulting in fewer water levels plus its declined state.
The Agus-Pulangi power plant is almost 50 years old, outliving its 30 years life span.
The 10 percent renewable energy investment, Rotoras added will mean that for every 100 MW of power investment, there should be an equivalent of 10 MW of renewable energy investment for Mindanao, which would guarantee that the island would not be dependent on limited resources such coal and diesel.
Montenegro said that mixing Mindanao power sources will result to a better managed power resource. “It’s like planning for family meals, where one would plan what is going to be served to the family,” Montenegro said.
“Let us push to make more mini hydro power plants, that way, we won’t have power outages,” Dagooc also urged.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on May 01, 2013.