Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Philippines Renewable Energy Bill

Renewable energy, defined as energy sourced from inexhaustible or easily replenishable energy sources like sunlight, wind, ocean tides, and geothermal heat or others like biomass and biofuels.

In the Philippines, more than half of the power plants run using bunker fuel and coal making the power sector highly vulnerable to the surging prices of oil in the world market.

Recent legislation called for the ethanol addition to gasoline where ethanol used can be produced locally using sugarcane, but the move diverts food sources into power needs much like corn production in other countries diverted to ethanol.

The Philippines is currently the world's second largest producer of geothermal energy, next only to the United States. That's mainly due to the presence of many volcanoes, of which 22 are active, inside the Pacific ring of fire. The geothermal plant in Tiwi, Albay is one prime example. Other volcanoes in the Philippines are the beautiful Mayon Volcano, Mt. Pinatubo, Taal Volcanoplus the many volcanoes in Camiguin.

There are studies that pinpointed several viable locations to harness energy from the wind and the wind farm in Bangui town in Ilocos is one such living testament to it.

On solar power, there's a company manufaturing solar cells in Laguna but mainly for export. Small upland communities are already using solar power sourced through donations by foreign government and NGOs. Other visible use of solar energy includes the solar-powered Capones lighthouse in Zambales and Corregidor Lighthouse.

Hydropower is also much used in the country, one example is the Kalayaan hydroelectric power plant in Kalayaan, Laguna whose turbines are powered by Caliraya lake. The first hydroelectric power plant in the Philippines can be found in Villa Escudero in Tiaong, Quezon. Mini-hydro plants are suitable for highland communities with access to the water supply. Dams that produce electric power are Magat Dam in Isabela/Ifugao, Pantabangan Dam in Nueva Ecija, and San Roque Dam in Pangasinan.

Biomass fuel can also be harnessed from rice husks, coconut shells et al while garbage dumps can also generate methane gas to produce power. A similar setup can be seen in "green" piggeries where pig waste can be used to generate methane-powered plants.

With all these energy alternatives, the Philippines, given the right motivation and the passing of the still pending Renewable Energy Act, can ween away from dependence of bunker fuel. But that is if those "honorable" lawmakers can get their act together to pass such urgent legislation.

No comments:

Post a Comment