ADB urges PH gov’t to push for new energy technologies

MANILA The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is suggesting that the Philippine government push for the use of new energy technologies, an executive said Wednesday.

In an interview with reporters, Yongping Zhai, chief of ADB’s Energy Sector Group, said the government should raise awareness and provide information about available technologies in the energy sector.

“Let’s say the solar and wind energy are intermittent. But an intermittent policy is even more harmful,” he added.

Zhai said that in any country, investors look for policy.

Thus, he said, the government should create a policy that would make investors realize the return on their investments in say, five to 10 years framework.

Zhai explained that since the energy sector relies on private sector investment, the government’s part would be to push for available technologies and make the investors realize their worth.

He cited new technologies, such as smart grid and microgrid, as good investments.

“Microgrid with storage can provide a solution for off-grid areas,” he said on the sidelines of the Asia Clean Energy Forum slated this week at the ADB headquarters in Ortigas Center, Pasig City.

Just recently, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi expressed his desire to provide electricity in all communities across the country.

Cusi cited the need for smart-grid technologies, noting that this is effective in significantly reducing systems losses and other operational inefficiencies.

In a previous interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA), Energy spokesperson Felix William Fuentebella described smart grid technology as a term used when the energy facilities are equipped with the ability to communicate with each other.

“It provides energy players and users with real-time data,” Fuentebella said.

He said among the challenges in providing electricity to communities are the validation of data, right of way access, terrain, distance, and social acceptability of the design.

At its recent stockholders’ meeting, Meralco announced that it is considering microgrid in serving the communities.

“We would like to see if Meralco can introduce a hybrid system, then have the distribution,” Meralco President Oscar Reyes said earlier, noting that the firm wants to take a role in bringing electricity to the communities, though not as corporate social responsibility but as a business.

The challenge

Meanwhile, Zhai said achieving cleaner and more efficient energy has always been challenging.

“People want safe, no shortage, affordable energy. Very few countries would achieve these if you’ll look at ‘availability, no interruption, clean or safe’ as criteria for energy,” he told reporters. “In all countries that I’ve visited, not one has reached all the three criteria.”

Giving an example, Zhai cited that in Europe, the electricity tariff is very high. Other countries might be offering cheap prices for energy, but the pollution is too high.

“We’re trying to achieve these (criteria) one by one because it’s very difficult,” he said.

Zhai, however, emphasized that today, he is more optimistic in achieving all these criteria because of the new technologies.

“The new technologies and developments technologies we have never imagined, such as AI (artificial intelligence), smart grid, etc. could all enhance the ideal energy situation,” he remarked. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency