NEA to put up microgrids in remote communities
Danessa Rivera (The Philippine Star) - June 30, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — State-run National Electrification Administration eyes to replicate in other remote communities the recently inaugurated micro-grid project donated by State Grid Corp. of China (SGCC) to the Zambales power coop.

The “Brighten Up” project donated by the SGCC to the Zambales II Electric Cooperative Inc. (ZAMECO II), was turned over to the power coop after the signing of the project transfer agreement among NEA, SGCC and ZAMECO II.

SGCC said the “Brighten Up” project is part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the country, the construction of which began in January and was  completed in May.

The project involves solar micro-grid system to provide power supply with a generation capacity of 76 kilowatt peak Solar PV and a battery storage capacity of 414 kilowatthours. It covers the communities of Old and New Baliwet in Barangay Sta. Fe, San Marcelino, Zambales.

“We look forward with enthusiasm that this project will soon provide a better life for the people of New Baliwet and Old Baliwet,” NEA administrator  Edgardo Masongsong said.

ZAMECO II general manager Alvin Farrales said the project is expected to cater the power needs of 1,900 residents in Old and New Baliwet.

The electric cooperative plans to create a Barangay Power Association (BAPA) to manage and operate the collection and maintenance of the solar project, he said.

NEA sees mini-grid systems as viable option to power remote communities across the country, particularly those located far away from the electricity grid.

“The conventional rural electrification approach of grid connection may no longer be the best path to achieve universal access to electricity since we are now addressing the last mile of household electrification,” Masongsong said.

“Mini-grids, hybrids and solar home systems now play important roles in electrifying far-flung communities isolated from the grid,” he said.

Based on the 2015 census of 15,416,144 potential households in the country, the NEA, in partnership with 121 electric cooperatives, has already energized 85 percent or 13,027,402 as of April.

The agency aims to bring that to 100 percent by 2022 but the archipelagic characteristic of the country poses the biggest challenge to the rural electrification program, aside from the funding requirements, the NEA chief said.

To overcome this, the NEA is looking into potential solutions for communities without grid access that are “flexible, resilient, stable and reliable electricity supply for lighting and income-generating activities at an affordable cost to foster sustainable socio-economic development.”

“The remoteness of many areas, especially uplands and small islands, makes it impossible for all potential consumers to be connected to the main electricity grid,” Masongsong said.

NATIONAL ELECTRIFICATION ADMINISTRATION
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