More Windfarms, Zero Black Outs, WWF Dispels Doubt

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Press Update:

Adding 500 MW of wind power to the national grid will have no negative impacts on Philippine grid operations, reveals a 2013 World Bank and Australia AusAid report on the Grid Impact of Variable Renewable Energy (VRE) for the Philippines. “Despite wind’s variable nature, 500 MW can easily be integrated without the risk of blackouts or interruptions,” explains WWF-Philippines Climate Change Unit Head Atty. Gia Ibay.

“A country’s national grid should have a power reserve capacity equal to or larger than its biggest power plant. This reserve prevents blackouts, even if the grid’s biggest plant shuts down.” The 500 MW of wind provided by new wind farms in Ilocos, Rizal and Panay, is smaller than the grid’s reserve requirements, so even with their variable nature, they will not affect the grid negatively.

There will also be no grid constraint problems regarding the time of day that wind farms feed energy into the system because wind production peaks from 11 AM to 2 PM and 6 PM to 9 PM, the hours with the highest daily peak demands. This means that all generated energy will be consumed. This dispels fears of creating ‘over-contracted’ energy which goes to waste.

About 70% of Philippine electricity is currently generated from fossil-fuels, 90% of which are imported at varying prices. Humanity’s continued reliance on fossil-fuels for the transportation and energy-generation industries is the primary cause of climate change, the impacts of which are becoming more destructive yearly.

Climate solutions-provider World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is spearheading the Seize the Wind campaign to increase the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) allocation for wind energy from 200 MW to 500 MW before the end of summer. Wind produces free, clean power throughout the year with the highest production during November to April’s Amihan season.

The Seize the Wind campaign fully supports the construction of new wind farms to augment the national power supply and overcome the country’s power deficit. About 400 MW of wind power shall be added to the national grid by April 2015.

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New Wind Farms Prepare Ilocos Norte for 2015 Power Shortage

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Wind Farm by Gregg Yan & WWFProgress may come at a slow pass but definitely moving forward with the heed to be more environment-conscious.  People are now paying attention to the cost effectiveness and long-term positive effects utilizing nature and its powers.  The clanging and deafening noise made by greedy and selfish business men along with their Advertising and PR machinery to stop the movement towards greener options are eventually being ignored.  The truth is revealing itself despite political muffling,

Smarter businessmen can see the wisdom of working and earning while including a pro-environment stance.  Businessmen who don’t participate will eventually get left behind or close shop because they won’t be patronized by the citizens who have awakened and desire changes.  The movement is gaining momentum with signs such as the operations of wind farms in Ilocos Norte.

Climate change solutions-provider World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) welcomed the timely start of operations for the new wind farms in Guimaras and Ilocos Norte. Its Seize the Wind campaign aims to increase the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) allocation for wind energy from 200 MW to 500 MW. The new wind farms in Ilocos Norte and Panay have added 303 MW to the country’s power supply, helping cushion consumers from a projected power shortage this March.

Wind Energy Trend by WEDAPWind farms take faster to build and are becoming more economical power sources, freeing energy generation companies and consumers alike from the need to import expensive fossil-fuels like coal and oil.

Wind farms take just about a year to go online, compared with conventional fossil-fuel power plants which can take up to four years to construct. About 70% of Philippine electricity is currently generated from fossil-fuels, 90% of which are imported at varying prices. Humanity’s continued reliance on fossil-fuels is the primary cause of climate change, the impacts of which are becoming more destructive yearly.

“We are hopeful the Department of Energy shall immediately increase the wind FiT allocation,” says WWF-Philippines Climate and Energy Unit Head Atty. Gia Ibay. “In fact, based on data from the Wind Energy Development Association of the Philippines, the month with the highest wind energy output occurs during March of each year. Incidentally, this is the same month when our projected 2015 power shortage is slated to worsen. By Seizing the Wind, we can augment our power supply this 2015.”

WWF Calls on DOE Support to Seize The Wind This 2015, Lower Electricity Prices

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The Bangui Windmills by Gregg Yan & WWFToo Expensive.  This has almost always been the reaction I get from most for not giving much attention to solar and wind power. Without a response, I just keep quiet and start to wonder if this is really just an impossible goal for the majority.  But I just can’t give up on the earth just like that.  Most of us shouldn’t too, so WWF continually looks for alternative feasible solutions to help us sustain healthy environment practices.

First we need the support of those in authority and extensive influence like the Department of Energy to get the ball rolling.The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-Philippines) believes that the Department of Energy (DOE) has a prime opportunity to generate an INDC by increasing the share of RE in the country’s power mix. About 70% of Philippine electricity is currently generated from fossil-fuels, with 90% of coal and oil resources imported at varying prices from other nations. In response, the DOE recently supported an increase in the installation targets for solar energy under the Feed-in Tariff regime.

The 2015 United Nations Climate Conference, which is slated from 30 November to 11 December this year, expects outcomes that include Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), country-wide climate change mitigation and adaptation commitments. World leaders gathered in Lima last month for the 20th Conference of Parties (COP 20), designed to set the stage for strong climate change agreements in Paris this 2015.

WWF believes that with the increase in solar, an additional increase in wind energy installation targets is a firm, next step that the DOE can commit to. Philippine Climate Change Commission Vice-Chair Lucille Sering last month stated that the country is committed to submit an INDC by June – the first pledge by a developing country.

Clean and renewable sources of energy such as geothermal, hydro, wind and solar energy are among the Philippines’ few competitive advantages, especially since the country has no significant deposits of fossil-fuels. Its continued reliance on imported fuel has made Philippine electricity rates among the highest in Asia.  

Increasing RE Support Will Lower Philippine Electricity Prices

Pay close attention naysayers, non-believers, and those in doubt still, here are some facts you should be aware of as well as where we should focus our efforts as a nation.

In 2001, the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) was implemented to limit the cost of electricity. At that time, the Philippine power generation mix was composed of 37.29% RE and 62.71% fossil-fuels. Unfortunately, RE share dropped to 28.37% a decade later.

The price of imported fuels fluctuates wildly. “Most of our power rate jumps were caused by generation cost hikes. With fossil-fuel prices continually rising due to dwindling supplies and soaring demand, the cost of our electricity shall rise even further. The best solution is to use existing RE resources to shield us from the cost volatility of fossil fuels,” says WWF-Philippines Climate Change Head Atty. Gia Ibay.

In 2013, WWF’s global Seize Your Power campaign called on financial institutions, private investors, pension funds and governments to avoid fossil-fuel investments and instead support clean and affordable RE sources.

RE can provide a stable source of electricity at a constant price for years, especially with the implementation of the government’s Feed-in Tariff (FiT) system. Under this system, RE projects are guaranteed a rate for the electricity they produce per kWh that will be held constant for the next 20 years, with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) doing periodic reviews to adjust rates for foreign exchange and inflation.

This means that the price of RE-generated electricity will continuously become cheaper over time. Many RE plants can also be directly embedded onto certain key areas to further reduce the cost of electricity, eliminating the need for transmission and distribution lines to deliver electricity from power plants to households.

Unlike fossil-fuels where VAT is applied to add to existing cost, RE has been given a 0% VAT rate. In contrast, the International Energy Agency forecasts a steady increase in the cost of coal and other fossil-fuels over the next decade.

In short, increasing RE share will make electricity more affordable for Filipinos in the long run. WWF-Philippines aims to continue its Seize Your Power campaign by convincing both public and private sectors that RE is the primary solution to the country’s power needs. Seize the Wind, which encourages stronger support for Philippine wind farms, is its first phase.

“What better way to demonstrate leadership before the Paris talks than to show that the Philippines embraces clean and renewable sources of energy?” asks Ibay. “It’s time for us to divest from fossil-fuels and prepare for a windfall of clean and affordable power for all Filipinos!”

WWF Targets Transportation, Agriculture, and Waste for Emission Reduction in PH

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The Bangui Windmills by Gregg Yan“We have one of the highest power rates in Asia, mostly because of inefficiencies in the power sector and our reliance on imported fossil fuels. With coal and oil prices rising from increased demand, we will pay even more in the coming years – unless we invest in indigenous Renewable Energy now,” explains WWF-Philippines Climate and Energy Programme Head Atty. Angela Ibay.

Identified sectors for emissions-reduction were transportation, agriculture and waste. A shift from landfill-based garbage disposal to full recycling systems will optimize waste elimination. Agricultural emissions from rice, corn and livestock cultivation must be reduced by increasing operational efficiency and shifting to organic agricultural practices. An efficient reforestation program that fosters inclusive growth for upland farmers and indigenous people should be implemented. Far-sighted policy direction must be applied to the transport sector – eliminating inefficient transport options and promoting hybrid or electric vehicles – vastly improving the air quality of Philippine cities.

Shifting to indigenous Renewable Energy (RE) options, veering away from fossil fuels and optimizing energy usage are the surest paths to a low-carbon future, reveals a new study commissioned by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

The study recommends increasing investments in both RE and Energy Efficiency (EE), while decoupling the country’s dependence on imported fossil fuels like coal and oil. The Philippines is a fossil fuel-poor country and is vulnerable to the volatility of international fossil fuel prices.

“All countries are vulnerable but developing countries have a greater sensitivity, with more people living in poverty and fewer resources to respond to climate disasters,” warns Chamling Rai, WWF International Senior Adviser for National Climate Change Adaptation Plans. “We need to put in place measures that will slow down warming and put us on a fair and just transition to a sustainable world. Ambitious emissions cuts now can reduce the risk of climate change in the second half of this century.”

WWF works to prevent global warming of over 2-degrees Celsius beyond pre-Industrial Revolution conditions. Earth has already heated up by about 1-degree in the last two centuries, with an expected jump of 0.8-degrees from atmospheric heat stored by the oceans. Beyond 4-degrees, up to 30% of all known plant and animal species will die – and intense storms, droughts and other climate effects will become nearly unmanageable for less-developed nations. Today, the three largest emitters of greenhouse gases (GHG) are energy generation, transportation and agriculture.

As developing countries progress, their GHG contributions are expected to rise – and the Philippines is no exception. Though it currently contributes less than 0.35% of global GHG emissions, its share will spike due to economic and population growth coupled with rapid urbanization.

Building Momentum for Low Carbon Development is a WWF-led project which presents plans to synergize national development objectives with climate change mitigation strategies. The project presents a path for the Philippines to transition from a fossil-fuel dependent economy to one that uses 100% Renewable Energy (RE) by 2050.

“Climate change mitigation reducing country emissions is critical because Asian economies are in full swing,” says WWF-Philippines Project Manager Philline Donggay. Asia is presently the world’s fastest growing economic region and the largest continental economy by GDP. Globally, six in ten people live in Asia.

The study established a Philippine carbon emissions budget and matched it with current emissions trends. It was found that the budget shall be surpassed by 2020, the take-off point for WWF’s recommendation for a 100% RE-based economy. “This might be difficult but it is certainly possible,” says Juergen Lorenz, of the commissioned research team. “Technologies and practices already exist and an innovative strategy can be programmed into a timeline that determines the best path to full transition.”

WWF is now working with public and private institutions to promote the value of embarking on this low-carbon pathway and helping decision-makers contribute to concerted bottom-up and top-down efforts in terms of both policy and technological applications.

“Since fuel prices affect everything, two very different futures await Pinoys by 2050. Under a Business-As-Usual scenario, the average Filipino will be burdened by ever-growing prices of goods, services, fuel and electricity. Living conditions will plummet and basic commodity prices will soar,” warns Ibay. More powerful storms and floods will wreak havoc on agriculture, aquaculture and fisheries, straining the nation’s ability to feed itself. An over-reliance on imports will create a cycle of dependence.

“Properly realized, the low-carbon pathway recommended in the study gifts Pinoys with affordable, limitless power – decoupling our reliance on imported fuel. This drives prices down while enhancing our future purchase power,” concludes Ibay. “Electric vehicles will finally ply the smog-free conduits of EDSA and C5. Most importantly, biodiversity shall be protected – providing all Pinoys with an ample supply of food, water, air and energy.”

In the 1970s, Filipinos had the foresight to invest in indigenous geothermal power, helping equalize energy generation costs. “Some of the biggest Renewable Energy investors are now the most globally-competitive economies, like China, the US, Germany and South Korea. We should follow their lead and use one of our country’s few competitive advantageous – our vast Renewable Energy resources,” adds Ibay.