Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Ombion: Pursue renewable energy


WHICH means that we also resist all plans to build coal-fired power plant and other extractive and destructive energy systems in Negros.

I understand the flip-flopping of Vice Governor Bong Lacson on the issue of proposed coal-fired power plant in San Carlos. He may be facing some social and personal circumstances that presses him to take the neutral or safe stand. Still, I believe his staunch advocacy for renewable energy when he was the mayor of San Carlos City continues to fire him.

This time, the green activists and all concerned sectors in Negros are given the bigger responsibility to generate a critical mass pursue to frustrate the proposed coal plant, while promoting renewable energy, and hoping they could strengthen the heart of Vice Gov Lacson to take clearer and firmer stand for renewable energy.

I have made repeated calls that promoting renewable energy like solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, wave, and hybrid combinations of these is the best energy road map for our region and country.

In fact, renewable energy has been steadily gaining headway in the Philippines, not only in off-grid areas, but even urbanized communities where amenities of "modern life" are well provided.

Detractors and apologists argue that shifting from the current energy sources to renewable ones would be costly for existing structures and operations of big commercial business.

They also argue that wind and solar energy technologies are intermittent, as there are only few channels or places where the wind speed is sufficient and continuous, and that we don’t get much sun exposure during the months of June to September, November to December.

They insist that the initial capital costs for renewable energy sources are still expensive and the poor families cannot afford them.

But these concerns have already been solved, and in fact in some areas, projects have already been proven viable and sustainable, financially and technically. The Philippine government has also drawn support and incentives in support of renewable energy initiatives of the private sector, as clearly shown in Renewable Energy Act of 2008.

Technology scientists, innovators and engineers are already making advances in controlling the intermittence of renewable energy by developing power storages, hybrid generators which automatically connect to main grid lines if there is low supply of renewable energy.

Having a training in electrical engineering and renewable energy systems myself, I have been personally and professionally involved with non-government development organizations and social enterprise groups in planning, designing and installation community-based renewable energy systems for rural household electrification, solar water system for drinking and farm irrigation, community solar street lights, and for running certain small machines.

Renewable energy is gradually altering the world view of our community folk and even the NGOs personnel on earth's resources, and slowly developing in them the discipline in the utilization of energy.

In renewable energy, discipline is needed. One has to use energy when needed; no luxurious facilities that consume lots of power; live simple and frugal lifestyle; store energy when not in use; recycle everything to produce another item and activity, are just among the many principles that our community folk are beginning to learn and embrace as a new way of life.

For architects and engineers, renewable energy has also helped open the development of green architecture and engineering, integrating more natural sun and air in structures and use of materials. Thus, we now have green architecture and engineering, lessening use of air conditioned facilities, fans and lights, and employing natural ventilation and lighting systems.

In the medium and long run, renewable energy will play greater role in staving off disasters and calamities.


VIRUS STRIKES Grupo Progreso (GP). I have been getting information and feedback from my unimpeachable sources from both opposing groups that two or three councilors of GP have started to conduct “single voting” operations in some barangays.

One is reported to be trying hard to become the hitman in the city council of a big businessman outside of city by wanting to get the top post in the council. Said figure is said to belong to the old buddies in past city councils who were figured in some controversies.

This seems to be a part of bigger game plan of the challengers of GP to get the vice mayorship, and the top council post, so it would be easy for them to operationalize their game plan of eventually seizing control of the city, should circumstances come to their favor.

The other two, threatened by the actions of this said figure, want to engage in the same to ensure the top post. They said to belong to other big economic interests.

If true, this would shatter the mythical 15-0 call of the group, and the votes they could possible deprive other party mates may increase the chances of challenging councilor bets, and threaten the winning chances of its mayor and vice mayor, and to a certain extent even its congressman.

This is what I’ve been calling expediency to its highest gear, becoming a virus and an illness that could kill the organization and shatter the good plans of its colleagues for the city.

Indeed, the worst that could befall the organization is not the external forces, but the internal ones who turned into a deadly virus.


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