During my trip to Cagayan de Oro a few months ago, I visited the CEPALCO Solar Power Plant, the largest solar power plant in Southeast Asia. It currently serves 900 households in the area. I was surprised how simple it all seemed. As you can see in the pictures, it is simply a large number of solar panels laid out on 2 hectares of land. The sunlight that hits the solar panels are immediately converted into AC voltage and then transmitted to the power grid for distribution.
The Renewable Energy Bill is one of the priority measures in Congress. I am one of the authors and as such, I have been studying different kinds of renewable energy.
Solar power, like other renewable energy is great because it is environmentally friendly. The problem is the high cost involved. Because of this, solar power is either subsidized or users have to pay a premium. Many are of the view that it is well worth the price, given the savings in environmental and health costs associated with the use of fossil fuel.
At the end of the day, energy planning is all about maximizing our indigenous sources of energy such as natural gas and oil fields in Palawan (so we reduce our dependence on imported fuel), geothermal energy which is abundant in the Philippines and investing in infrastructure and tapping new technology to developing renewable energy coming from wind, solar, ocean/waves and hydro ( I visited the site of Bangui Windmills last year during a trip to Ilocos Norte. More on this another blog)
My staff along with Mother Earth Foundation held a solid waste management in Barangay Carmen. Participants came from different sectors ”barangay officials, students, business establishments etc. I arrived in time to give a pep talk, answer a few questions and witness the action plan signing wherein each group/sector commited to carry thru the action plan they had written out. Their enthusiasm was contagious. I told them I hoped to see their plans materialize the next time I visit CDO.
The surprise of this working visit was a stop at the Asian Business Cooperative Academy where I learned about one of the livelihood projects of the students “ the flurutus mushroom which are grown in cylindrical shaped containers filled with sawdust. All one has to do is sprinkle them with water a couple of times a day, wait for them to grow and harvest them. The next batch automatically grows back. I took home some and am hoping they we can harvest our mushrooms soon!
On Clean Water
Clean water is a big problem in our country. Based on a survey of NSO, only about 80% of Filipino households have access to clean water. This means, 17 million Filipinos use and drink water that could make them sick.
Thus,it was with great excitement that I visited the Rio Verde Water facility. Amazing to see how dirty river water that flows
from Mt. Kanlaon is purified through a few touches of the computer. They walked me thru the whole process of receiving the water, flocculation, sedimentation, filtration and finally — clear water ready for distribution. I am told that this meets the WHO standards for drinking water. We hope to see more programs like this.