Author Topic: The Green Alternatives:  (Read 1193 times)

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The Green Alternatives:
« on: September 20, 2008, 10:50:33 AM »
The Green Alternatives
Often criticized for being intermittent or unsightly, renewable energy-its technologies and market continues to grow and evolve.

Today’s fear of constant climate change and global warming coupled with steep oil prices, peak oil and escalating government support consist the total make-up of growing renewable energy legislation, motivation and commercialization around the world. In fact, as part of its drive to cut emissions of carbon dioxide, the European Union (EU) leaders reached an arrangement in March 2007 that 20% of their country’s energy should be produced from renewable fuels by 2020.

Though often criticized for being sporadic or unprepossessing, renewable energy’s technologies and market continue to grow and evolve. In fact, wind power is growing at the rate of 30% per annum and is commonly used in several EU countries and the USA. In 2006, the manufacturing output of the photovoltaic industry reached more than 2,000 MW, while PV power plants are constantly becoming current in Germany. Solar thermal power stations function in the USA and Spain, largest of which is the 354 MW SEGS power plant in the Mojave Desert. Brazil has one of the largest renewable energy programs in the world. And Kenya has the world’s highest household solar ownership rate with roughly 30,000 small (20-100 watt) solar power systems sold per year.

Next to the United States, the Philippines is the second largest producer of geothermal power in the world. P2 Petro Managing Director Patricio Lopez shares the fervor of the Department of Energy (DOE) in promoting the use of renewable energy, especially alternative clean fuel. He said, “By 2040, the world crude oil will be critical. It is near the halfway mark as we speak.”

It’s all around us
The management and use of renewable energy remains a crucial part of the government’s stratagem to supply the country with enough energy. The power sector has learned to utilize geothermal and hydro resources to diminish the country’s dependency on imported fuels. Conversely, in the government’s rural electrification efforts, renewable energy sources such as solar, microhydro, wind and biomass resources are seeing wide-scale use.

As the energy sector shifts from fossil energies to this sustainable system, and as renewable progressively becomes a major, practical and aggressive fuel option, it remains the government’s plan to assist the DOE.

The present administration’s initiatives include creating a market-based environment that is favorable to the private sector and at the same time helpful to technology transfer and research and development. Current fiscal incentives provide for a better partiality to renewable technologies and projects which are environmentally sound.

Lopez added, “This timely fame of renewable types of energy is the answer to our problems of growing costs of living and global warming.”

According to existing projections of DOE, renewable energy is to provide up to 40% of the country’s primary energy requirements until 2013. Although its share will decline in relation to the total figure, it is predicted to grow at an average annual rate of 2.4 %.

As an assertive move to endorse renewable energy development and use, DOE has branded long-term goals, namely, to increase capacity by 100% by 2013; and increase non-power input of renewable energy to the energy mix by 10M barrels of fuel oil equivalent (MMBFOE) in the next five years. To promote across-the-board use of renewable energy and to add to the government’s program on rural electrification, 30 islands have been eyed to be energized using hybrid power systems. Additionally, over l,000 barangays have been programmed using renewable energy systems.

However, major constraints still need to be addressed. This includes inadequate fiscal and financial incentives, lack of public awareness of the benefits of renewable energy projects, lack of commercially viable market for renewable systems and relatively high cost of technology.

The streets turn green
Alternative fuels in use today include methanol, denatured ethanol, and other alcohols blended with gasoline, diesel or other fuels. Those that act as surrogate to petroleum, such as natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, hydrogen, and coal-derived liquid fuels are also considered as alternative fuels. On the other hand, biofuels are made from biomass and primarily used for motive, thermal and power generation, with quality specifications in accordance with the Philippine National Standards (PNS).

Presently, DOE is putting into practice what could be a lasting Alternative Fuels Program-one of the five key components of the Arroyo Administration’s Energy Independence Agenda-to reduce our dependency on imported oil and provide inexpensive and more environment-friendly alternatives to fossil fuels. Through this, DOE intends to use the country’s national produce as feasible sources of energy, with the goal of developing domestic and reusable energy fuels for durable energy security, which will be a pillar for our country’s sustainable growth.

The program has four major subprograms: Biodiesel Program, Bioethanol Program, Natural Gas Vehicle Program for Public Transport (NGVPPT), and Autogas Program. Other technologies advocated under the program are hybrid, fuel cell, hydrogen and electric vehicles. The Houses of Congress authorized the Biofuels Act of 2006 which mandates a minimum 1% biodiesel blend and 5% bioethanol blend by volume in all diesel and gasoline fuels respectively that are being distributed and sold in the country. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed the Bill into law on January 2007.

On the other hand, the realization of the coco-biodiesel program began with Memorandum Circular No. 55 in February 2004. Though initially plagued with much uncertainty especially from the private sector, CME has hurled its challenges to be the first commercially available vegetable derived alternative fuel currently sold to local motorists.

Flying V fueling stations in Luzon and parts of Mindanao are now selling pure CME and 1% pre-blended CME across the country. Infrastructure ,support is also progressing and paving the way for stable supply of CME in the country.

An advocate of CME, Lopez added, CME is now produced locally in three DOE-accredited manufacturers, with three more still in the process of DOE accreditation. Total production capacity for the DOE-accredited plants adds up to 166J1 liters per year.”

After its launching last August 2005, packaged 200 milliliters to one liter of the product and 1% pre-blended (B1) are being,sold to the public as well.The E10 or gasoline fuel blended with 10% fuel ethanol is now offered ins elected retail outlets of local oil companies in Seaoil, Flying V and Shell.

To guarantee sustainability of the Diodiesel program, the government had to similar projects in parts of Tunisia, Morocco, Indonesia and Mexico.

Experts like Lopez are warning that the world needs an urgency-driven effort to create a competitive renewable energy infrastructure and market. First-world countries can make more research investments to find superior cost efficient technologies, and for low labor costs, manufacturing could be transferred to developing countries. The renewable energy market could increase fast enough to replace and initiate the decline of fossil fuel control over the world.

Most importantly, renewable energy is putting on acceptance among private investors as having the promise to grow into the next big industry.


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