DoE's Sortie into Renewable Energy

Article excerpt

WHEN the hundreds of lights hanging from the 40-foot Christmas tree at the SM Mall of Asia were switched on last December 12, it signaled the country's serious business of harnessing renewable sources of energy on a larger scale.

Likewise, the well-attended event has put up a beacon of hope that beams at two fronts.

One - the huge Christmas tree is powered by solar energy. It makes use of 35 solar panels that supply the power, ushering in the country farther into the era of clean and green energy sources.

Two - the event also highlighted the launching of SWITCH-3, a co-precursor of the Light-a-Million-Homes program of the Department of Energy.

It seeks to bring light and power to more than a million Filipino homes in the rural areas that are still in darkness.

It should aptly be told to the public at large that those two fronts come as the bright package of a Christmas gift to millions of Filipino households in the form of electricity from renewable sources.

The DoE, without a doubt, has now made inroads in putting to use other sources of electricity aside from the unreliable and costly, imported crude oil.

And what makes the event more significant is that it is the millions of homes in the rural areas that are the beneficiaries.

DoE Secretary Angelo Reyes said the successful implementation of the electrification program for the rural areas is a credit to President Gloria Arroyo. She has always the welfare of the people in the countryside at heart, as part of her administration's domestic priority program.

Back to the SWITCH-3 event at the Mall of Asia.

Foreign diplomats, headed by US Ambassador Kristie Kenney, representatives of the World Bank and other international donor agencies and high local government officials witnessed the ceremony.

According to Reyes, all barangays are just a few months away from being energized as a result of the rural electrification program that was established as a priority project by the Arroyo administration. The program will be the centerpiece of the celebration by the DoE of Energy Month, which also will highlight the anniversary of the signing of the Renewable Energy Law by President Arroyo.

The DoE announced that the government has completed the electrification of approximately 97% of the barangays.

"In 2009, all these communities will be served and three million families are also scheduled to benefit from cheap electric power using renewable sources," said Reyes. "These communities are scattered across mountainous areas or in islands, where it is not economical to erect power transmission lines."

Reyes also appealed to private corporations, state-controlled agencies,and civil society groups to continue to participate in lighting up communities by sponsoring solar panels for streetlights, households, and schools.

Communities in Mindanao, which are among the poorest in the archipelago, will benefit most from the program. …