By Joann Santiago
MANILA, Nov 23 (PNA) — President Benigno Aquino III on Monday stressed that investing into renewable energy (RE) will not only help prevent a power crisis in Luzon in 2015 but doing so solidifies the reality that this is a competitive choice as power source.
In his speech during the launch of the largest solar power system for a Southeast Asian mall, the SM City North EDSA, the President said initiatives being done by both the government and the private sector towards increase in RE usage “drive home the point that renewable energy sources represent a long-term investment.”
“It plays to our country’s strengths, provides insulation from fluctuations in the international oil market and thus allows us to be more self-sufficient, generates savings in terms of electricity costs, and also contributes to the preservation of the environment and mitigates the effects of climate change,” he said.
The solar rooftop project that Aquino inaugurated is dubbed “Green Switch,” which SM Supermalls bids to replicate in its other malls like the SM Mall of Asia (MOA) and SM City Dasmarinas.
Aquino noted that SM City North EDSA is not the first SM Mall to be powered by solar power.
He said the Sy-led mall’s branch in Xiamen, China is the first to be equipped with solar panels but its capacity is lower at 1.1 megawatts, being sourced from 3,740 panels, compared to the 1.5-MW and 3,760 panels that SM City North EDSA have.
He said energy to be produced by the solar panels will provide SM City North EDSA’s five percent average daily consumption.
While the share of RE on the mall’s power requirements remains small, this translates to about Php 2 million monthly savings, he said.
Thus, Aquino is hopeful that all SM properties and projects will use solar power.
Aside from solar power, SM have also indicated its interest to join the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Interruptible Load Program (ILP) by deloading some 57.9-MW of power supply when supply thins.
Under ILP, customers of distribution utilities (DUs) that have generator sets will be allowed to use their own power generators and not rely on DUs like the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) for supply.
This is aimed at ensuring that power consumers that do not have the capacity to provide their needs will have supply, especially in the summer of 2015 when demand is expected to shoot up.
In turn, those who will join the ILP program will be paid on the fuel and oil used in running their own generators and on the depreciation of the equipment.
“This might not be enough to address that shortage, but it is indeed a very significant step forward, and will hopefully spur other businesses to follow suit,”Aquino added. (PNA)