Promoting energy-efficient means of transportation in a tourism area, the United States government through the US Agency for International Development (USAID) recently launched the solar-powered boat Adlao Azul.
This solar-powered boat will help improve mobility and delivery of basic services across remote island communities in Palawan.
Adlao Azul made its maiden voyage in the waters of Coron, Palawan last November 8. The event was led by USAID Philippines Environmental Officer Dr. Paul Brown, who joined Coron municipality and Sangat Island Resort representatives aboard the boat.
Palawan is considered the country’s last ecological frontier. It is host to a good number of tourist sites and attractions, including El Nido and Coron, which main tourism activities are beaching and island hopping.
A known host to unique flora and fauna, Palawan is struggling to keep its ecosystems intact while advocating for sustainable tourism.
Developed by Oceantera Energy Corp. through a P25-million grant under USAID’s Energy Secure Philippines project, Adlao Azul is equipped with a US-made battery system and high-efficiency bifacial solar panels, allowing it to cruise for over six hours on clean energy.
It comes with a cooler and freezer storage for transporting food, vaccines, medical supplies and other essential goods for residents on the islands of Coron, Culion and Busuanga.
The boat also allows the timely delivery of emergency supplies during power outages and natural disasters.
“USAID has been working closely with the national and local governments, as well as with the private sector to expand the use of renewable energy across different sectors, such as transportation, agriculture, island electrification and disaster response,” Brown said in a statement.
“We look forward to our continued partnership with the private sector, particularly with investors, resort owners and boat operators to support a low-carbon ecosystem,” he added.
“These [solar-powered boats] are very transformative technologies that address not only climate change mitigation but also support the livelihood and economy of communities. I am hoping that this be replicated in other islands,” Climate Change Commission’s former assistant secretary Joy Goco said.
Following the launch of Adlao Azul, USAID and Oceantera will work to expand the commercial availability of clean energy-powered boats in Palawan by documenting supplier networks and regulations, establishing franchise agreements, and linking potential funders with clients, such as boat operators and builders.
Through this initiative, USAID seeks to pioneer the use of renewable energy in modernizing transportation and enhancing the logistical chain in delivering essential goods and services.
Energy Secure Philippines is USAID’s five-year $34-million activity that aims to mobilize investments, deploy modern energy technology, and support policy reforms for a more competitive energy sector that can drive future economic growth and social development in the Philippines.
Image credits: US Embassy