THE European Union (EU), the World Bank (WB), and the National Power Corporation (Napocor) have activated solar power plants of electric cooperatives (ECs) in the Visayas and Mindanao.
Said facilities were completed late in August in Samar, as well as South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat in Mindanao.
Napocor is currently performing the solar-power plants’ set up and linking to the ECs’ distribution networks under the “Access to Sustainable Energy” project administered by the WB, and funded by an EU grant. The project, which is part of the EU’s €66 million (P3.8-billion equivalent) “Access to Sustainable Energy Programme,” financed four 1-megawatt power greenfield solar photovoltaic power plants at a total cost of €4.6 million (P280-million equivalent).
The two plants connected to the distribution networks of South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative or SOCOTECO II, and Sultan Kudarat Electric Cooperative or SUKELCO, were switched on at the ceremony. The other two plants, which will be connected to the networks of Samar I & II Electric Cooperatives or SAMELCO I and SAMELCO II, are for activation by the end of this month.
According to the Embassy of the EU Delegation to the Philippines, these investments in solar energy will help make energy consumption in the target locations more environmentally sustainable, contribute to diversifying energy supply, and ultimately help mitigate climate change.
At the inauguration ceremony, Ambassador Luc Véron stated that “we are very proud to have financed this action that provides sustainable and clean energy solutions to remote communities in Mindanao and [the] Visayas. Working on the transition to a greener society and climate-change mitigation is a global priority for the EU, and it will also remain at the center of our cooperation efforts with the Philippines.”
Véron added that the said efforts were confirmed a few weeks ago in the dialogue between President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and European Commission president Ursula van der Leyen during her visit to the country.
“This project exemplifies the World Bank’s commitment to promoting sustainable energy solutions for inclusive growth in the Philippines,” said Ndiamé Diop, WB country director for Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand. He also noted the importance of these solar power plants by setting practical examples and benchmarks for scaling up renewable-energy supplies among ECs.
“[We are proud to partner with] the EU and the WB in bringing renewable energy [RE] to far flung areas of the Philippines, supporting the government’s endeavors in full electrification and scale-up,” noted Napocor president and CEO Fernando Martin Y. Roxas. “Under this partnership, [we also completed the installation of 30,500 solar-home system units for five ECs] in Mindanao in 2022.”
Roxas thanked the EU and WB, as well as the Department of Energy, for entrusting Napocor with the implementation of the project.
“This has been a fruitful collaboration. We are grateful to extend our technical expertise and at the same time, obtain inspiration in our own pursuit of [RE] technologies,” remarked Roxas. “We look forward to future engagements with our development partners.”