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Friday, May 31, 2024

More efficient technologies translate into cleaner energy

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The entry of more efficient, next-generation renewable energy (RE) technologies is accelerating the global push for clean energy.

Global innovations in solar and wind technologies are expected to drive RE deployment in the Philippines further, as the government aims for a 35-percent RE share by 2030 and 50 percent by 2050.

Transitioning to renewable energy is the key to securing humanity’s survival, as “without renewables, there can be no future,” says UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Renewable technologies like wind and solar power are, in most cases, cheaper than the fossil fuels that are driving climate change, but the world needs to prioritize the transformation of energy systems to renewable energy.

Fossil fuel subsidies are one of the biggest financial barriers hampering the world’s shift to renewable energy.

The UN chief has consistently called for an end to all international public and private funding of fossil fuels, one of the major contributors to global warming, calling any new investments in them “delusional.”

“All actors must come together to accelerate a just and equitable transition from fossil fuels to renewables, as we stop oil and gas expansion and funding and licensing for new coal, oil, and gas,” he said.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) revealed that $5.9 trillion was spent on subsidizing the fossil fuel industry in 2020 alone. This figure includes subsidies, tax breaks, and health and environmental damages that were not priced into the initial cost of fossil fuels.

That’s roughly $11 billion a day.

Shifting subsidies from fossil fuels to renewable energy leads to a reduction in their use and also contributes to sustainable economic growth, job creation, better public health, and more equality, particularly for the poorest and most vulnerable communities around the world.

RE developer Alternergy Holdings Corp. (Alternergy) is heeding the call of the UN. It plans to install next-generation wind turbines with a rated capacity of up to 8 megawatts (MW) at its Alabat and Tanay wind power projects.

Alternergy awarded the wind turbine supply contract to Envision Energy of China, a global leader in green technology. The contract covers the supply of 162 MW of wind turbine generators (WTGs), a mix of 6.5 MW and 8 MW units, and includes a 10-year service and maintenance agreement.

The Department of Energy’s Renewable Energy Management Bureau (REMB) says the Philippines’ prevailing wind technology is the horizontal-axis wind turbine. The capacity of each installed wind turbine ranges from 1.65 MW to 3.15 MW, with rotor diameters from about 80 meters to 142 meters.

“Upcoming projects are utilizing wind turbines with rated capacities of 5 MW to 8 MW each and rotor diameters of up to 175 meters,” REMB said.

For offshore wind setups, the dominant choice remains the horizontal-axis wind turbine. “However, the selection of the platform, whether fixed or floating, depends on the bathymetry and seabed profile,” REMB said.

“Additionally, there is potential for micro-wind turbines utilizing the vertical-axis Magnus type,” it said.

While not yet operational in the Philippines, these turbines present an emerging prospect for diversifying the country’s wind energy sources, REMB added.

Solar technology has also seen significant improvements in recent years.

REMB said the most common solar photovoltaic (PV) technology today is either monocrystalline (single crystal) or polycrystalline (multiple crystals). Monocrystalline panels offer higher efficiencies and a sleeker aesthetic due to their uniform black color.

Polycrystalline panels differ from monocrystalline panels in their manufacturing process, using multiple crystals. They generally have slightly lower efficiency compared to monocrystalline panels.

The capacity of solar panels has also increased significantly, with new models reaching 655 watts per panel compared to 255 watts 10 years ago. With UN News

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