Friday, August 02, 2013

Renewable Energy, The Philippines and Microgrids

The Philippines government has recently announced they want to convert to renewable power sources over a 10 year period, and be 100% using renewables.

There is some scepticism over the plan, and a recent article seems to be not very positive.
However, the author does not factor in the potential for all renewables in the Philippines - solar, wind, biomass gasification and pyrolysis and ........geothermal.  This latter source could provide baseload power.  Geothermal power is widely used in NZ, and with the Philippines on the Pacific Rim of fire - it is conceivable that it could be a valuable energy source, supplemented by other forms of renewable energy.  It is also a country of islands - where smaller localised supply sources are more useful than large mega energy plants.  The island of Palawan has already commenced some widespread use of renewable energy.

The other concept that might be valuable is the idea of microgrids.  Cuba has moved to use microgrid power, and by so doing has virtually eliminated power outages that were common with the older centralised power generation system.  More on microgrids and the Cuba experience here - and here -  There is also discussion on local sources and community management of demand, especially critical at times with PV sources. See more here  -

While renewable energy usually gets bad publicity over intermittent production, there are techniques to fix that issue, even without using sophisticated storage, although that approach has a lot of adherents, including the commercial companies developing these systems.  They must be doing it right as a system with molten salt storage has been installed at a large mine in South America.

The move by the Philippines is a bold one.  Could it be a model for others - including Australia?

No comments: