Renewable Energy sources to power off-grid areas

Author: Darvin Tocmo  Date Posted:15 October 2014 

The National Power Corp. (NAPOCOR) will embark on five-year program that will utilize renewable energy (RE) resources in areas not connected to the country’s main power grid. The state-run power firm – which is in-charge of providing electricity in off-grid areas – will harness RE resources, particularly solar energy starting next year. The country’s missionary areas are currently fueled by diesel-fed facilities. “NAPOCOR is keen to utilize renewable energy especially for off-grid areas, or those which are not connected to the main transmission grid that powers the country’s main islands,” a statement stated. Data from the World Bank cited in the state-run firm’s statement showed that 30% of the Philippines population still doesn’t have access to electricity – majority of who are located in off-grid areas. “Because of the country’s geographical composition, it is difficult and very costly to transmit and distribute power especially to remote islands,” NAPOCOR Vice-President for Corporate Affairs Urbano C. Mendiola said in the same statement. “We believe that Filipinos who live in off-grid areas are the ones who will benefit the most from renewable energy – by using solar power for example, we will be able to increase the hours of electricity supply even up to 24 hours,” he added. Power rates in off-grid areas, while subsidized, remain to be expensive. Besides the cost issue, some households only have power supply that last between four to 12 hours. The power firm intends to put up a 10-megawatt (MW) solar project there next year, with commercial operations slated for 2016. Mr. Mendiola further said that the government’s plan to adapt RE goes beyond improving electricity transmission and cutting costs. The program is also intended to attract investors to infuse investments for RE projects. NAPOCOR – through its Small Power Utilities Group – is mandated by the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 to provide electricity to remote barangays and villages or areas not connected to the country’s power grid. Areas considered off-grid include Mindoro, Marinduque, Palawan, Romblon, Masbate, Siquijor, Zamboanga, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.   Find more information at: http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Economy&title=renewable-energy-sources-to-power-off-grid-areas&id=96015