DOE looking for alternative power sources around Mindanao

Tony de Guzman, chief science research specialist of the DOE Mindanao office said a nine-member team called the Energy Resources Development Utilization Division was tasked to search and validate possible new sources of energy, specially hydro power around Mindanao.

Instead of looking at bigger sources such as PUlangui and Agus rivers, De Guzman said they are also in search of sources for mini-hydro plants.

He said local government units should push similar projects for investments from the business community to cut dependence on traditional energy source such as the use of coal in power barges.

He said most of the LGUs around Mindanao sent their own lists of possible energy sources, but they cannot validate everything immediately due to constraints in human resources.

He said once they find a source as a possible project, DOE central office will send a team to make further studies.

De Guzman could not specify, though, the number of projects they are studying this year.

In the government's rural electrification efforts, the DOE website said, renewable energy sources such as solar, micro-hydro, wind and biomass resources are eyed for wide-scale use.

Biomass, micro-hydro, solar and wind will remain to be the largest contributors to the total share of renewable energy in the energy mix with an average share of 27.5 percent.

Hydro and geothermal will contribute the balance and continue to be a significant source of electric power, the website said.

De Guzman, however, noted his team's difficulty in exploring new sources in conflict- affected areas.

The DOE identified constraints that need to be addressed such as insufficient fiscal and financial incentives, lack of public awareness of the benefits of renewable energy  (RE) projects (socio-environmental concerns), absence of commercially viable market for RE systems, and relatively high cost of technology.

The government, according to the DOE website, is formulating programs and projects to stimulate greater private-led investments in the sector, promote RE technologies as competitive energy options and maximize the use of RE potentials. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)