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Thursday, May 23, 2024

PH takes great strides toward clean energy

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Energy has been a valuable resource among countries and societies because it powers nearly everything people need to navigate their daily schedules. But despite energy’s advantages, it also has harmful effects when used excessively.

Thanks to technology, researchers discovered more sustainable energy sources that could generate enough power to maintain cities without straining the environment.

Countries across the globe have since begun pledging to transition to renewable energy to promote sustainability within civilizations.

The Philippines is among those countries that switched to using sustainable energy to maintain the processes of various industries as demand continues to go up.

According to statistics, the primary energy consumption in the Philippines reached 2.11 exajoules in 2022, reflecting an increase from the previous year.

Where to harness renewable energy

One of the most common sources of renewable energy is the sun. The Earth intercepts solar energy about 10,000 times more than how humankind consumes power. People harness this natural resource through solar panels and similar technology to convert sunlight into electrical energy.

Another typical renewable energy most countries use, even in the Philippines, is wind energy. It harnesses kinetic energy from moving air by using large wind turbines on land. Wind energy has been present for millennia and continuously evolved to maximize the electricity produced with taller turbines and larger rotor diameters.

There’s also hydropower, which harnesses the energy of moving water from higher to lower elevations. Reservoir hydropower plants rely on stored water in a reservoir, while run-of-river hydropower plants harness power from the available water flow.

A nationwide shift to sustainable energy

Numerous initiatives for clean energy nationwide have been successfully implemented throughout the years. Various factors, like intent, partnership, and more, contributed to its success in providing sustainable energy for Filipinos.

Early this year, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced its plans for renewable projects, with some in Western Visayas, to encourage almost every corner of the country to use sustainable energy. These projects include 68 potential projects, totaling 14,245 megawatts of capacity.

Yet there’s more to the Philippines’ sustainable energy efforts than that.

Reports claim that the Philippines will soon leapfrog Vietnam as the primary renewable producer in Southeast Asia, thanks to an aggressive project development pipeline that will result in a 15-fold boost in combined solar and wind power by 2030.

The Philippines ranks a distant second in the region in combined solar and wind power generation, with 1,766 megawatts of installed capacity.

Another way the Philippines encourages private sectors to switch to renewable energy is by incentivizing efforts toward embracing sustainability. For instance, the Philippine Board of Investments introduced additional incentives for registered projects to generate electricity through renewable energy facilities.

It sparked a more intensive approach and switched to sustainable energy among private companies, paving the way for private-public partnerships that benefited Filipinos.

One example of this partnership is the Olongapo solar power project, which aims to intensify further strategic cooperation between Energy China and AboitizPower Group to promote diversification of local power supply models in the Philippines.

This partnership can also reduce the Philippines’ dependence on fossil fuel-derived energy while boosting sustainable development within the local society and economy.

Meanwhile, the Solar Tanauan Corporation, a subsidiary of Prime Infrastructure Capital Inc. (Prime Infra), made remarkable strides to develop solar power plants in Batangas and Cavite with cutting-edge project design and execution tools and strategies.

Prime Infra is developing infrastructure projects – water, sustainable energy, and waste management.

Its solar power plants in Tanauan and Maragondon have a combined installed capacity of up to 140 megawatts (MW), poised to generate electricity for over 84,000 households to reduce annual coal consumption by 100,000.

This collaborative effort underscores the commitment of Solar Tanauan, Prime Infra, and their partners to accelerate the adoption of clean and sustainable energy solutions in the Philippines.

Besides making meaningful partnerships to provide Filipinos with clean energy, some private institutions also made significant contributions or investments to ensure an effective proliferation of clean energy.

Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) made a similar pledge, with its power generation arm, Meralco PowerGen Corp (MGen), investing at least P18 billion to accelerate the growth of its renewable energy line to coincide with its long-term sustainability strategy.

In the meantime, MGen, through its renewable energy unit MGen Renewable Energy Inc (MGreen), said it is eying to ramp up its attributable renewable energy capacity to 1,500 MW with investments in more and larger green energy projects, including those with battery energy storage systems.

Health and safety benefits of clean energy

Since fossil fuel has been the source of energy for centuries, it has taken a toll on the environment. On the other hand, clean energy can decrease human dependency on limited fossil fuel resources and bring about various benefits for human health and safety.

Burning fossil fuels adds more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than the planet can store and remove, being a significant cause of a rise in global temperatures.

Fossil fuels can also cause air pollution and contaminate water and soil, something that clean energy can lessen, making the natural surroundings safer for humans.

Through years of testing, scientists discovered that clean energy technologies produce little to no harmful emissions or greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide that cause numerous health problems.

Shifting to clean energy protects the fundamental human right to a healthy, safe environment. Although the first few steps can be costly and complex, the results and long-term goals are worth it because they can also help protect natural resources facing depletion because of excessive human use. It can also pave the way for new economic opportunities as people and their communities explore the potential of sustainable energy.

Access to clean energy is not just a luxury for humans but a right because it directly deals with their daily activities and overall health.

The Philippines’ steps toward providing clean energy to the public have been successful but still have a long way to go before everybody, especially from grassroots communities, embraces it wholly. Nonetheless, taking the necessary steps can lead to the change the public and the Earth deserve.

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