The Department of Energy (DoE), with the support of the European Union (EU), is pursuing an energy program for off-grid communities that would benefit close to 100,000 households, especially in the Bangsamoro region.
EU Head of Development Cooperation Enrico Strampelli and Energy Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella, led the switch-on ceremony of the solar power for electrification and livelihood projects on Thursday.
These initiatives are supported by the DoE and EU through the Access to Sustainable Energy Program (ASEP).
Some participants from the local and national agencies attended the ceremony at the DASURECO compound in Digos City, Davao del Sur.
The EU provided a 60 million grant to the Philippine government for the program boosting the share of indigenous and renewable sources in the energy mix and extend electricity services even in remote areas and populations.
Under ASEP’s Photovoltaic (PV) Mainstreaming program, about 40,500 solar home systems (SHS), each with a 50-watt peak capacity, will be installed in remote off-grid communities in various provinces in Mindanao.
To date, the SHS installation has been completed in Sitio New Mabuhay, Barangay Little Baguio in the Municipality of Malita, Davao del Sur.
Some 100 recipient households are already enjoying the benefits of superior lighting from solar power.
A 3-kW solar photovoltaic system that powers two units of abaca spindle machines was likewise installed to demonstrate additional economic opportunities in remote communities through renewable energy.
ASEP is carried out as a partnership between EU and the DoE.
Other key stakeholders include the National Electrification Administration, Energy Regulatory Commission, National Power Corp., electric cooperatives and local governments.
Rest assured, the DoE and our partners-stakeholders will continue to explore more projects that will benefit our brothers and sisters in remote areas through innovative solutions, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said in his keynote message delivered by Undersecretary Fuentebella.
As this developed, the DoE on Thursday began looking into power interruptions in parts of Mindanao.
We are validating the cause of the partial blackout in the Mindanao region and we are taking steps to secure the electricity services in Mindanao, Secretary Cusi said in a statement.
According to the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP), a partial blackout occurred Thursday at 10:38 a.m. that isolated Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, the Zamboanga Peninsula and affected parts of Butuan City, Cagayan de Oro, General Santos and Davao City.
The interruption was caused by an intentional toppling of vegetation to the lines in between the Baloi-Agus 2 138kV transmission line which led NGCP to declare red alert status in the Mindanao Grid.
At 1:56 p.m. of the same day, all the lines were restored at the except Agus 2 — Baloi Lines 1 and 2.
In Zamboanga, the diesel-fired plant of Western Mindanao Power Corp. was able to connect to the grid and stabilized operations at the NGCP substation.
We are asking the NGCP and other stakeholders to investigate and prevent the incident from happening again, Cusi stressed.