Renewable energy use gains popularity

The use of renewable energy to power communities is gaining popularity and acceptance. One example is a small community in Sebaste, Antique called Sitio Igpatuyao, which is powered by hydro electricity.
This project is being implemented by the Central Philippine University Affiliated Non-Conventional Energy Center (CPU-ANEC), being a partner of the Department of Energy (DOE). Their projects cover Panay and Guimaras.
This is an initiative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JAICA) and the support of the municipal government of Sebaste and the barangay council of Poblacion. The JAICA funded the project, while the municipal government provided the battery charging and power station and the barangay council provides the budget in social organizations, including training on capability and sustainability.
The P5.4-million worth Micro Hydro Pilot Project uses 15 KW power that is sourced from a river near the area. They constructed a weir (a small dam) upstream from where they get little water through a channel that is 500 meters long and .5 meters deep.
“This connects to 56 households and six for battery charging. A household has two 10 kilowatt lights, two outlets, televisions, casette or radio, refrigerator and a videoke,” said John Dandee Hechanova, technical head of the CPU-ANEC.
He added, “This project aims to show that renewable energy through the use of local technology and materials is possible. We did not import our materials. Everything is made locally except for the generator. Even the manpower consists of local residents.”
He hopes that this project can be a model for other development efforts. In fact, JAICA uses the said pilot project in its implementation of related efforts in other areas in the country.
Hechanova also stressed that one good thing about renewable energy use is that the operators will always have a steady income.

Sitio Igpatuyao is among the areas in Western Visayas that are being eyed to mobilize the renewable energy campaign where hydro, biomass and wind applications are used.
A consortium of electric cooperatives like Ileco I, II, III and Akelco, to name a few, aim to operate on biomass come 2011. It is believed that biomass energy can supply Iloilo with 61 megawatts power.
The Trans-Asia Power Generation Corp. is building a wind farm in Guimaras, the Solar Electric Company and the Sunwest Water and Electric Company have a hydro power plant project in Antique, the Asea One Power Corp. has a 25-mw power plant project converting waste to energy for Panay and Guimaras.
“Thus, we don't need a coal-fired plant in Iloilo,” said Melvin Purzuelo, co-convenor of RISE, who pushes for the use of renewable energy, one that is abundant in Western Visayas, instead of depending on coal, considered as “the world's dirtiest fuel.”
“Renewable energy projects are gaining momentum and gaining support. A 16 percent increase in the use of hydro, solar and wind energies had been noted around the globe, meaning, renewable energy has already reached its target to become viable,” said Greenpeace Southeast Asia Climate and Energy Campaigner, Amalie Obusan.
“When we invest money on renewable energy, we are not subject to the volatility of the oil price increases,” she added. She also cited benefits such as preservation of the community's land, livelihood and security as well as the public's health and the environment./Marie Katherine Villalon

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