Sabang Renewable showcases off-grid electrification projects
Danessa Rivera (The Philippine Star) - May 5, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Energy (DOE) expects the hybrid mini-grid project of Sabang Renewable Energy Corp. (SREC) to showcase off-grid electrification projects that supports the government’s thrust of total electrification once it is completed this month.

DOE Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella said SREC’s project is the first hybrid—solar, diesel and battery—system in off-grid areas under the qualified third party (QTP) to support the country’s total electrification program.

He said the area to be served by the project wiould experience 24/7 electricity services.

SREC is set to complete the construction of its hybrid mini-grid system this month and will provide stable, reliable and renewable energy that will power further growth in Sitio Sabang, Barangay Cabayugan where the Puerto Princesa Subterranean National Park is located.

“The solar-battery-genset hybrid system serves as a showcase for an off-grid/mini-grid electrification project,” Fuentebella said.

Fuentebella said the project is consistent with Sec. 59 of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (EPIRA), which introduced alternative service providers to areas that cannot be served by the franchised distribution utility. 

“The area was waived by Paleco (Palawan Electric Cooperative) because it was found to be unviable for energization through conventional grid connected electrification,” Fuentebella said.

The Energy Regulatory Commission issued a provisional authority to SREC to operate as QTP last Oct. 26.

SREC is a consortium of Vivant Energy Corp., Gigawatt Power Inc. and WEnergy Global. It will operate a hybrid power plant—combining solar panels and diesel engines.

“We are not merely installing four diesel engines and a 1.4-megawatt peak (MWp) solar energy system. We’ve been building our own grid from the ground up, and erecting electrical poles and cables spanning 14 kilometers since April 2018,“ SREC chairman Emil Garcia said earlier.

Under optimal conditions, the hybrid plant will generate as much as 2.6 MWp once it is completed, allowing to provide power to approximately 10 public buildings, 18 small businesses, 19 hotels and restaurants, and 583 households.

Meanwhile, the National Electrification Administration is exploring strategies to extend electricity access to rural and remote communities, including the installation of micro-grid systems to help speed up the government’s electrification program.

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