NEA, ADB Bolster Renewable Energy Initiatives

Written by Lyle Gepe Formilleza | Romblon News

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is keen on collaborating with the National Electrification Administration (NEA) and the electric cooperatives (ECs) under its charge to develop additional micro grid facilities and distributed energy resources (DER) in the country.

NEA Head Executive Assistant Atty. Vicar Loureen Lofranco issued this statement following a three-day workshop on the subject sponsored by the ADB in its headquarters in Mandaluyong City last week.

Lofranco said ADB Senior Technical Advisor on Energy Dr. Yongping Zhai expressed interest to continue working with the NEA in promoting clean and renewable energy (RE) in the Philippines by helping out on the mini-grid and DER projects of the agency.

This partnership aims to realize total rural electrification and development of the EC franchise areas, primarily those located in island municipalities or the remotest villages of on-grid power coops, she noted.

The workshop, held from June 21 to 23, was part of the capacity-building program of the NEA for non-profit rural energy companies and industry stakeholders to foster the establishment of more alternative sources of power especially in the outlying towns.

NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong appeared on the third-day of the event and spoke before 151 participants from 51 ECs about the importance of developing renewable energy to complete various electrification projects of the government.

“One of the agenda of the NEA is to carry out rural development through Rural Electrification Program. We realize that mini-grid systems offer a potent solution to remote communities without grid access,” Masongsong said as quoted by Lofranco.

“And so we must endeavor to pursue the use of mini-grids and distributed generation for increased access to power and obtain sustainable socioeconomic development in these far-flung areas,” the administrator added.

Lofranco said the participating ECs utilized the Hybrid Optimization of Multiple Energy Resources (Homer) model in their initial feasibility study for a potential micro grid system under the expert guidance of resource persons from the ADB Energy for All (E4ALL) Partnership.

Among those who shared their output were representatives of Camarines Sur IV Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Casureco-IV) from Luzon, Bohol I Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Boheco-I) from Visayas, Davao del Sur Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Dasureco) and South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Socoteco-II) from Mindanao.

“NEA continues to encourage the ECs to pursue the use of mini grids and distributed generation in its bid to provide reliable and adequate electrification service in remote and isolated areas in its franchise,” Lofranco said.

The NEA official cited the case of Romblon Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Romelco) led by its general manager Engr. Rene Fajilagutan as one of the off-grid ECs already benefiting from using a similar technology.

Fajilagutan, who was present on the second day of the workshop, shared his story of bringing light to the far off Cobrador Island through a hybrid diesel power plant, a project also funded by ADB, which runs on renewable solar energy.

“The NEA is grateful of its longtime RE ally, the Asian Development Bank, for supporting this initiative and partnering with the agency in its many endeavors in the pursuit of development through the Rural Electrification Program,” Lofranco said.

Heavily involved in these undertakings are the NEA Office of Renewable Energy and Development (ORED) headed by Engr. Butch Silvano and the NEA-EC Training Institute (NETI) led by Director Nora Rivera.