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CFC Social Dev’t Programs Advocates Prioritizing Solar Power for PH Energy Needs

LAST May  20,  2017,  Couples for Christ’s St. Thomas More  and Associates,  its program for socio-political renewal and Oikos Society, its program for the environment, organized a breakfast forum  to  tackle  the  topic of  Prioritizing  Solar  Energy for Philippines’ Energy Needs.   Guest  and  speaker was Arsenio T. Ng who is the Chairman,  CEO  and  President  of  ATN  Philippines Solar  Energy  Group,  Inc. who gave information and updates about solar energy. 

Mr.  Ng,  having  been involved  in  building  a 30-megawatt  solar plant in the country, shared that the energy situation in the country is alarming. A large part of the population consumes  electricity  for domestic  and  commercial needs. The rapid economic development that  is  happening now also puts strain on  the  country’s  energy supply.   Also  alarming  is the fact that the Philippines is  one  of the  countries  in the world with the highest electricity prices. Given this reality, the possibility that in  the  near  future,  we  will be forced to cut back on our consumption because of the demands and the disadvantages looms large. 

But,  as  the  breakfast  forum showed, solutions exist for our energy problems. When  solar  energy  was first introduced, its cost was prohibitive.   However,  in recent  years,  solar  energy cost dropped tremendously. For  Mr.  Ng  and  all  other advocates  of this  project, the  solution  to  our  energy problems is solar power. The Philippines  being  located in  the  world’s  Sun  Belt  is a prime area for renewable energy, which is the reason why advocates suggest that we should be using as much solar power as we can. 

“The  country  could  save more  than  Php  10  billion yearly  with the  shift  to renewable  energy,”  Mr.  Ng stated. He added that this could be done if we replace diesel  generation  with  renewables. Geothermal  energy, which is another form of renewable energy in the Philippines,  has  translated to over $7 billion in savings since 1977.

Job  creation,  one  of  the solutions  for  alleviating poverty, is also one advantage  of the  shift  to  solar energy.   Mr.  Ng  informed the forum that the 30-MW solar plant employed 3, 000 people  during construction  for  six  months  and 300  people  full time  after project  completion.  Apart from  that,  the  project  also provided a big opportunity for entities that can supply the 4,000 MW power supply deficit projected to happen in the next three years. 

What  should  we  do  to take part? Mr. Ng proposed the following: 

1.  abandon  dirty,  deadly and costly energy; 

2.  pursue collective action that  would  contribute to providing adequate, reliable  and  reasonably-priced power;

3.  increase use of alternative fuels; 

4.  get  educated  by  being informed  of  the  plans of  the  Department  of Energy  (DOE)  and  the power sectors; 

5.  opt for simple reforms (e.g.  use  of  energy  efficient light bulbs, tree planting,  recycling) that  can  pave  the  way for  a  cleaner,  cheaper  and  more  reliable energy  for  more  than 800,000 of the poorest Filipinos; 

6.  speed  up  the  hybridization  of  plants  and install as much renewable  energy-powered plants  to  achieve  energy  security  and  selfsufficiency; 

7.  participate in the Interruptible Load Program established by the DOE and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to help mitigate the energy supply  deficiency in the Philippines until new capacities become available on the grid; 

8.  create  an  investmentfriendly  climate  to  attract investors.

In  response,  a  panel  of reactors was present to give their  stand on  the  topic. Roger Aldover, Energy, Environment  and International Development  Consultant, relayed his insights and updates from the Department of Energy and Edwin Chavez, CFC Cebu Provincial Coordinator  for  Social  Development Programs shared about how  cooperatives  saved  a large  amount  upon their shift  to renewable energy.

CFCs from Metro Manila and nearby  provinces  attended  the breakfast forum, including CFC Chairman Joe Tale; Oikos Society Head Rene de Rueda and the core team; St. Thomas More and Associates core team, the president of Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas, Mrs.  Zenaida  F.  Capistrano;  Fr. Francis Lucas of the Catholic Media Network; Jun Cruz, Executive Director  of  the  Ang Ligaya  ng Panginoon Community; and advocates from Solar Grid Alternatives, DMCI Power Corporation, Gravitas  Prime  and Meralco. (Yvonne Dolorosa)

Added on Monday, June 5, 2017



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