Originally published on BusinessMirror.com.ph
QUICK READ: Energy Development Corporation believes in the capability of clean energy to power sustainable cities.
The Philippines is an emerging economy and the country has greatly shifted from agriculture to industrialization. Conventional fossil fuels such as oil and gas are still the main source for baseload requirements.
With the current global energy crisis and the threat of climate change, there is a need and demand for environmentally friendly energy sources and responsible consumption. To ensure a viable, healthy, and environmentally sound future, the Philippines needs to shift to affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy sources.
Climate Change Vulnerability of the Philippines
Based on the 2021 Global Climate Risk Index by non-governmental organization Germanwatch, the Philippines placed fourth among 10 countries that were adversely affected by climate change from 2000 to 2019. Out of the 317 climate-related events that happened in the country from 2000 to 2019, the country lost more than USD3 billion in purchasing power parities (PPP)–and has a casualty of more than 800 deaths, placing it 2nd after Myanmar.
Urbanization and Energy Consumption
As the Philippine population grows, urbanization is developing rapidly in many cities around the archipelago–increasing its energy consumption due to spatial expansion. According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the level of urbanization or the percentage of population residing in urban areas is at 51 percent in 2019. With an increasing urbanization rate, the Philippines’ energy consumption increased at an average of 6.5% during a five-year period from 2014 to 2019 according to the Power Statistics of the Department of Energy.
Sustainable City Concept
As population density increases, the country’s power consumption also increases–and sadly, pollution from energy generation continues to intensify.
Energy generation is one of the biggest contributors to GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions. So how can our energy infrastructure be developed in such a way that it can support economic growth and high quality of life while radically reducing our cities’ impact on the environment? This is where sustainable cities come in.
According to the Institute for Research in Technology of the Comillas Pontifical University in Madrid, a sustainable city is an efficient urban center that provides a high quality of life to its inhabitants through optimal management of its resources. Since energy management is one of the most pressing issues with urban development, a significant attention and effort is needed to be dedicated to this challenge.
These are some of the energy solutions being offered by Sustainable Cities.
With the use of photovoltaic (PV) panels, solar energy can be converted into direct current electricity using semiconducting materials. In the Philippines, the 63.3-megawatt Calatagan Solar Farm is among the most advanced PV farm installations in the country.
The Philippines is the world’s second-largest producer of geothermal energy for power generation next to the US. Because of its location along the Pacific Ring of Fire, the country’s susceptibility to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions provided a source of energy to diversify its energy mix. The country is actually home to three of the 10 biggest geothermal power plants in the world.
In addition to the world’s largest geothermal plant, the Philippines is also the home of the largest wind power project in Southeast Asia–which is the Burgos Wind Project in Ilocos Norte. It is owned and operated by the EDC Wind Power Corporation (EBWPC) which is an affiliate of the Energy Development Corporation (EDC).
With more than 70 plants in operation, the Philippines has a total installed hydropower capacity of about 3,701 MW.
Waste to Energy
Typical management strategies of waste to energy include recycling, burning, or landfilling.
This energy from waste plays a key role in providing a sustainable energy source since urban residents produce roughly twice the waste of their rural counterparts. Through this technology, cities are given a waste management option that reduces the volume of their solid waste in landfills and offsets their need for traditional energy sources such as coal.
Optimizing Energy Consumption
A key driver for integrating systems and making our infrastructures more intelligent and efficient is the energy savings that can be achieved. Highlighting the study made by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in 2016, cities account for 65% of the global energy use and 70% of manmade carbon emissions. With these numbers, there is an urgent need for optimizing our energy consumption – and to achieve this, we must adapt integrate green building architecture into our infrastructure, and by utilizing smart grids.
According to the world green building council, a ‘green’ building is a structure that, in its design, construction or operation, reduces or eliminates negative impacts, and can create positive results, on our climate and natural environment. Though standards for green buildings vary, they are generally designed to use less energy and water and improve indoor air quality.
Energy efficiency is one of the most important factors in almost all green building programs. Strategic window selection, improved insulation, the use of smart technology like light sensors and LED, use of clean energy-powered heating/cooling systems contribute towards an energy-efficient building.
A smart grid on the other hand is an electrical grid that includes a variety of operations and energy measures which includes smart meters and smart appliances. Through the interconnectivity of devices embedded with sensors, a smart grid generates data and shares that data with the whole network, which will optimize energy consumption and provide predictive energy analytics.
Making the transition from the traditional source of energy to renewables involves not only switching to an alternative energy source but making sure it is cost-effective, sustainable, and beneficial for development. Dependence on finite fuels like coal and oil has left us reliant on a non-renewable energy source – which will eventually run out. The utilization of fossil fuels has significantly contributed to climate change. If we want to combat and minimize the effects of climate change, we need to take a serious look at alternative energy sources that are renewable and sustainable.
The Energy Development Corporation (EDC) is a pioneer in generating 100% clean, renewable, and reliable power as an electricity supplier in the Philippines for over 40 years. With power plants all over Visayas and Mindanao, the company is one of the biggest producers of geothermal energy in Asia and is expanding its reach in the international market, allowing it to offer customers affordable energy rates. EDC also strives to provide the best customer service it can to all its clients by having helpful salespeople and easy to understand contracts. Because of all of this, it is poised to become the premier supplier of electricity for the Philippines’ Green Energy Option Program. EDC takes its mission as a renewable energy provider seriously and goes beyond sustainability by investing in programs that enhance the environment and empower its partner communities, thereby fostering regenerative development. The company has also been working toward being carbon-neutral by improving its energy efficiency, as well as implementing various greening projects to ensure that its mission to provide future generations with a better life remains intact.