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Another solar power plant for the country

IN one of his last acts as president of the republic, President Aquino inaugurated last May 26 the First Cabanatuan Renewal Venture’s 10.2-megawatt solar power plant on 12 hectares of land in Cabanatuan City.

It was the latest in a series of solar power generating sites that have been inaugurated one after the other in the country. Last February, the biggest solar power plant in Southeast Asia and the seventh largest in the world was launched on 176 hectares of land in Cadiz City, Negros Occidental. The same month, the 63.3-megawatt Calatagan Solar Farm was set up on 160 hectares in Batangas. Last April, the 59-megawatt San Carlos Solar (Sacasol) power plant was inaugurated by President Aquino in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental.

This May, Repower Energy Development Corp. broke ground for a mini hydro power plant in Quezon Province, the first of such plants planned for rivers in Luzon and Mindanao. The 3-megawatt plant uses European technology that makes small run-of-river hydroelectric power plants, an alternative to traditional big dam facilities.

These solar and hydro plants are part of President Aquino’s Renewable Energy Program which began in 2011 with the aim of steadily increasing the country’s renewable energy-based capacity by 2030. The demand for energy, however, is such that in the interim, coal plants have to provide the needs of industry and the general public. Thus 23 coal-fired plants are scheduled in the next four years, including two in Davao City, one in Subic, Zambales, and expansion of plants in Quezon and Bataan.

But the long-range goal is to develop renewable energy in line with a commitment we made at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, France. Along with 145 other nation, we committed to reduce our emissions of greenhouse gasses, which are the leading causes of global warming and climate change.

Today, 23 percent of the total energy produced in our country is made from renewable resources – geothermal, wind, solar, hydro, and biomass. The goal is to increase this to 30 percent. With the steady establishment of wind, hydro, and solar power plants these last few months, it should not be long before we reach that goal and even exceed it.