How not to depend too much on China



The rift between China and the Philippines has caused the Philippine government not to be so supportive in developing solar energy considering China being a major source for solar panels. Here’s one opportunity Australian solar panel manufacturers to cater to. The only problem is the one manufacturer I know (BP Solar) stopped producing sometime ago.

P-Noy: Rift with China affecting Phl bid to use solar energy 
By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) Updated April 16, 2012 1

MANILA, Philippines – President Aquino has thumbed down proposals to avail of the expensive but long-term benefits of solar energy following the Philippines’ recent conflict with China – which now produces cheaper solar panels – to address the power crisis in Mindanao.

“If we go solar, they (China) are the cheapest producer. They will have another entry into controlling our economy. I think, it is not the wisest decision at this point,” he told Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, who is advocating the renewable energy source.

“You already know that we are in disagreement with China on one particular issue which actually hasn’t been resolved as of today. There have been other instances that they have not been very friendly,” Aquino pointed out, citing the West Philippine Sea issue.

He related that there is an ongoing debate between the US and China over the use of solar energy.

“As you know there is an ongoing fight between America and China with regard to subsidies allegedly being given by the Chinese government that make the production of solar panels, and the costs that much cheaper,” Aquino explained further.

He made the pronouncements during the April 13 Energy Summit held at the Waterfront Hotel in Davao City, that was attended by key government officials like Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras and Mindanao Development Authority chairperson Lualhati Antonino.

Malacañang hinted earlier that shifting to renewable energy sources is already part of the Aquino government’s long-term plan to address the energy problem in the country, particularly in Mindanao.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said that while the government looks at adopting renewable sources of power, it may come at a premium and may have an impact on consumers’ electricity bills.

Some of the government critics have been calling on the government to carry out short-term and immediate solutions to the Mindanao power crisis by resorting to renewable energy.

“That is part of the long-term plan: to include more and more projects that involve renewable energy. Remember the Department of Energy (DOE) is also advocating alternative and renewable sources of energy. So that is already part of the plan,” Valte said over state-run dzRB.

Valte also said the government is already accelerating the rehabilitation of hydropower plants in Mindanao, particularly the Agus and Pulangi plants.

Those plants were designed to work for 30 years but have been operating for about 59 years, way beyond their original life span, Valte said. The rehabilitation of Agus plant will take about 30 months, while the Pulangi plant will take one month, she said.

Valte said changing weather has affected power generation in Mindanao as the region experiences erratic rainfall patterns.

Zambo wants to go nuclear

Meanwhile, the provincial government of Zamboanga del Sur is willing to host a nuclear power plant to help solve the power woes of Mindanao in the long term.

Nuclear power is expected to keep cheap electricity rates, which will result in increased competitiveness and more investments in Mindanao.

“The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Zamboanga del Sur convey our intention to host the location of a nuclear power plant within the territorial jurisdiction of the province,” the council said in a resolution dated Jan. 19 but was circulated during the Mindanao Power Summit in Davao City last week.

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan said the establishment of the nuclear power plant creates several advantages.

These include “low electric power bill, which makes it competitive both locally and internationally [and] attracts capitalists to invest in Mindanao,” the resolution read.

Hence, more investments will create more jobs in Mindanao, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan added.

The government earlier said that the idle Bataan Nuclear Power Plant no longer has any nuclear future and might have to be totally abandoned.

“The necessity to establish a nuclear power plant is a long-term solution to power generation problem in the Mindanao grid,” the resolution read.

The Mindanao grid, which needs an average of 1,300 megawatts daily, lacks an average of 50 MW to 300 MW, resulting in two to four hours of rotating blackouts since January, data from the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines showed.

“Instability of power supply creates a major impact in the delivery of basic services, results in a disruption of work and is dreadful to the business industry as it will discourage capitalists from investing business in Mindanao,” the resolution read.– With Neil Jerome Morales

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