Mindanao fights rising fossil fuels with green scheme

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power-plantEfforts to alleviate the precarious electricity supply situation on Mindanao have spurred the development of several fossil fuel-based plants, with the Philippine government targeting a 50-50 plan composed of renewable energy to offset the carbon rise.

“There are now several coal facilities coming up in Mindanao, as well as a programme to increase geothermal capacity by 50 megawatts,” Director of the Renewable Energy Management Bureau Mario Marasigan at the Department of Energy recently told Inside Investor.

The plan will push for the deployment of renewable energy plants — such as hydro, biomass, geothermal and solar – through the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), the governmental unit in charge of economic development of the island. With a balanced energy mix, it is hoped that investors will be lured to the island.

“Ensuring sufficient and reliable power supply for Mindanao is particularly crucial to attract more investments to achieve broad-based growth and long-term sustainable development,” said Romeo Montenegro, MinDA director for investment promotion and public affairs.

In this ambition, MinDA and the Department of Energy are installing a one-stop processing and facilitation mechanism for renewable energy projects to fast-track approval and accelerate deployment.

The mechanism will hasten deployment of renewable energy plants to two years from the average five years, as well as address bottlenecks in the application procedure, a large issue in the Philippines, which is rated has having the densest bureaucratic red tape in ASEAN, according to the World Banks’ annual reports.

Mindanao has long been considered to have a power crisis, only just recently closing that deficit through the rehabilitation of the two hydropower complexes that provide the majority of energy to the grid. The declining capacity of the ageing Agus-Pulangi Hydropower Complex, which supplies 54 percent to the Mindanao grid, has resulted in rolling brownouts across the island.

To mitigate the perpetually shaky situation, the island’s two largest cities – Davao and Cagayan de Oro — have installed several privately run generators, while the rest of the major urban hubs fall the whim of the grid.

“Over a decade ago, 83 percent of Mindanao’s power was generated from RE sources, mainly hydro, while oil-based power accounted for only 17 percent of generated power,” said Montenegro.

The dependence on an energy mix that is extremely slanted towards one source has clearly been a bane for the island, only further challenged by the difficulties involved in developing new plants.

“A large issue [in developing energy projects] is the availability of land. In Mindanao, the land is used mostly for agriculture, and much of the land is not accessible to the grid. Thus these areas cannot be developed because they are inaccessible,” Marasigan said.

Yet Mindanao, the Philippines’ second largest island, has begun to share in the economic boom being trumpeted in Manila, causing industralisation across the island in such places as General Santos and South Cotabato.

“Mindanao’s electricity need is also growing at a rate of 4.7 to 5.28 per cent annually, spurred by the expansion of industries, real estate development, and services sector such as tourism facilities, malls, and business process outsourcing industries,” added Montenegro.

The pace of economic growth that has led to proposed coal plants for Davao del Sur (already being constructed by Aboitiz), Zamboanga, Sarangani and Misamis Oriental has also incensed Greenpace to highlight the risks of the dramatic increase in emissions. The development of the coal plants will at once increase the temperatures of parts of Mindanao while making the island more susceptible to the weather phenomenon El Nino.

Renewables can and should play a part. How easy it is to adequately develop these resources in a land where man local personalities are in play in terms of land rights has yet to be seen.

 

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

Efforts to alleviate the precarious electricity supply situation on Mindanao have spurred the development of several fossil fuel-based plants, with the Philippine government targeting a 50-50 plan composed of renewable energy to offset the carbon rise.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

power-plantEfforts to alleviate the precarious electricity supply situation on Mindanao have spurred the development of several fossil fuel-based plants, with the Philippine government targeting a 50-50 plan composed of renewable energy to offset the carbon rise.

“There are now several coal facilities coming up in Mindanao, as well as a programme to increase geothermal capacity by 50 megawatts,” Director of the Renewable Energy Management Bureau Mario Marasigan at the Department of Energy recently told Inside Investor.

The plan will push for the deployment of renewable energy plants — such as hydro, biomass, geothermal and solar – through the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), the governmental unit in charge of economic development of the island. With a balanced energy mix, it is hoped that investors will be lured to the island.

“Ensuring sufficient and reliable power supply for Mindanao is particularly crucial to attract more investments to achieve broad-based growth and long-term sustainable development,” said Romeo Montenegro, MinDA director for investment promotion and public affairs.

In this ambition, MinDA and the Department of Energy are installing a one-stop processing and facilitation mechanism for renewable energy projects to fast-track approval and accelerate deployment.

The mechanism will hasten deployment of renewable energy plants to two years from the average five years, as well as address bottlenecks in the application procedure, a large issue in the Philippines, which is rated has having the densest bureaucratic red tape in ASEAN, according to the World Banks’ annual reports.

Mindanao has long been considered to have a power crisis, only just recently closing that deficit through the rehabilitation of the two hydropower complexes that provide the majority of energy to the grid. The declining capacity of the ageing Agus-Pulangi Hydropower Complex, which supplies 54 percent to the Mindanao grid, has resulted in rolling brownouts across the island.

To mitigate the perpetually shaky situation, the island’s two largest cities – Davao and Cagayan de Oro — have installed several privately run generators, while the rest of the major urban hubs fall the whim of the grid.

“Over a decade ago, 83 percent of Mindanao’s power was generated from RE sources, mainly hydro, while oil-based power accounted for only 17 percent of generated power,” said Montenegro.

The dependence on an energy mix that is extremely slanted towards one source has clearly been a bane for the island, only further challenged by the difficulties involved in developing new plants.

“A large issue [in developing energy projects] is the availability of land. In Mindanao, the land is used mostly for agriculture, and much of the land is not accessible to the grid. Thus these areas cannot be developed because they are inaccessible,” Marasigan said.

Yet Mindanao, the Philippines’ second largest island, has begun to share in the economic boom being trumpeted in Manila, causing industralisation across the island in such places as General Santos and South Cotabato.

“Mindanao’s electricity need is also growing at a rate of 4.7 to 5.28 per cent annually, spurred by the expansion of industries, real estate development, and services sector such as tourism facilities, malls, and business process outsourcing industries,” added Montenegro.

The pace of economic growth that has led to proposed coal plants for Davao del Sur (already being constructed by Aboitiz), Zamboanga, Sarangani and Misamis Oriental has also incensed Greenpace to highlight the risks of the dramatic increase in emissions. The development of the coal plants will at once increase the temperatures of parts of Mindanao while making the island more susceptible to the weather phenomenon El Nino.

Renewables can and should play a part. How easy it is to adequately develop these resources in a land where man local personalities are in play in terms of land rights has yet to be seen.

 

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