EU evaluating contracts for solar lamps installation in Mindanao

DAVAO CITY—A European Union program on renewable energy is evaluating proposed contracts for the installation of solar lamps in 70,000 households in Mindanao, many of them situated in hard-to-reach areas.

In the Mindanao leg of Energy Smart 2018, Willy Hick said the target is energizing this large number of households with no access to electricity.

With many of them lying off the Mindanao grid, the most applicable would be solar lighting, according to Hick, the program manager of the energy sector of the EU delegation to the Philippines.

“There is a huge demand,” he said, adding that the EU’s Access to Sustainable Energy Programme (Asep) is studying the contracts submitted to them. The Asep is a joint undertaking of the EU and the Philippine Department of Energy (DOE).

A program information flyer said the EU coursed through Asep a financial grant of more than P3 billion toward 2020 “to assist the Philippine government to meet its rural electrification targets by means of renewable energy and to promote energy efficiency.”

Many of those who attended the conference here last week also represented several renewable energy outfits. Hick, Asep manager, assured participants the EU is willing to “engage more and more with them in the energy sector.”

DOE) data reveals only 76.6 percent of the total Mindanao households have been energized. Mindanao has about 25.5 million residents, or more than 1 million households.

Nilo J. Geroche, chief of energy industry management division of DOE-Mindanao field office, said only four solar power plants remain operational as of last year. Geroche added that 10 other solar power plants are in their development stage while 25 are in predevelopment stages. Some 12 other projects await approval from the DOE, he said.

A total of 94 projects, including the 12 solar projects, remain pending as of December last year. Some other renewable-energy projects were into biomass (four in operation), geothermal (one), and hydropower (six).

One ocean energy project was still in a predevelopment stage.

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Manuel Cayon has written about Mindanao for several national newspapers for more than two decades, the most part of it on conflict-reporting, and on the political, insurgency and civil rights front. He also scribbles on the religious and human rights issues for the Thailand-based Catholic news agency as well as he strings for several wire agencies. His stint with then TODAY newspaper started his business reporting obtaining in Mindanao, continuing to this day with BusinessMirror. He received citations and awards, including two Biotechnology awards for reporting. He was a fellow of the US International Visitors’ Program Leadership in 2007 on conflict resolution and alternative dispute resolution. He attended college at the Mindanao State University and the Ateneo de Davao University

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