Renewable energy 2-A A +A
An Independent View
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
WE SHALL never be part of the developed world for as long as we have so many brownouts.
Brownouts occur either due to a shortage of electricity supply, breakdowns at any point in the supply chain, or planned maintenance. We hope that, eventually, all these factors are dealt with and that brownouts occur only as a once-in-a-lifetime event due to the consequences of a super typhoon, a major earthquake or a tsunami.
Electricity generated from renewable energy (RE) sources have, in principle, the potential to prevent brownouts due to the temporary shortage of supply, particularly at peak periods. This is because the amounts of electricity generated from RE are planned to be quite small and insufficient to meet the core requirements of a substantial electricity co-operative, such as Ceneco.
For example, San Carlos BioPower Inc. plans to produce 18 MW. This is not enough to interest Ceneco for its main source of supply since its average demand is over 60 MW and, in any case, is already met as a result of its contract with the coal-fired Kepco-Salcon power station in Cebu.
But 18 MW could be of interest to Ceneco to help it meet its peak requirements, thereby eradicating the irritating rotating brownouts at peak times. Electricity from RE could be sold as a result of a bilateral agreement or, more likely due to the uncertainty of demand, from the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM). This was introduced into the Visayan region in December 2010. Former Energy Sec Almendras predicted that WESM would be a buoyant market resulting from a coming together of eager sellers and buyers. So far, it has not worked out that way but if electricity from the RE installations come on stream then WESM could be more successful.
We would also see less brownouts!
Biomass will be the major source of RE electrical energy in Negros and will result in benefits for the sugar industry, particularly as the electricity is obtained from the heat produced in the chemical reaction when sugar is broken down into ethanol – itself a valuable product.
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I have received communication from Joey Gaston, President of Negros Pureza Foundation Inc., in which he invites us to see his film, ‘PUREZA: The Story of Negros Sugar’. The film, directed by Jay Abello, himself a former sugarcane farm manager, describes the fluctuating fortunes of the sugar industry. Even-handed in its description of the history of the industry, it is a film of particular interest to students. There is too much of a disconnect between the education sector and the real world, in this case exemplified by the sugar industry, which has to overcome severe challenges in order to be viable. Economic History should be an important component of the High School curriculum but unfortunately it is sadly neglected.
The film will be shown on Thursday and Friday, 21-22 February at SM Cinema 3. Screening times are 12 noon, 2.15 pm, 4.30 pm and 6.45 pm.
‘I seldom go to films. They are too exciting, said the Honourable Possum.’
John Berryman (1914-1972)
77 Dream Songs (1964) no. 53
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on February 20, 2013.