24 NOVEMBER 2014.

bulet-arow.gif (856 bytes) President Aquino leads launch of Philippines’ biggest solar project in SM North EDSA
bulet-arow.gif (856 bytes) President Aquino hopes emergency powers would be granted soon

President Aquino leads launch of Philippines’ biggest solar project in SM North EDSA
 
President Benigno S. Aquino III on Monday led the launch of SM City North EDSA’s solar rooftop project, so far the biggest solar project in the country.

In his speech, the President commended the country’s biggest retail outlet for its initiatives on environmental protection and energy conservation.

“We are aware that you are no stranger to initiatives like this. From moving to the use of non-chlorofluorocarbon refrigerants to reducing the electricity consumption of 27 malls by 30.6 million kilowatt-hours in the span of a year; from participating in the Interruptible Load Program and helping to free up power when supply is tight, to this solar rooftop project, SM is indeed deservedly becoming recognized for its good practices in energy and the environment,” he said.
The SM North EDSA solar project, powered by 5,760 solar panels installed at the rooftop of the multilevel parking building, is expected to generate 1.5 megawatts of power for the mall’s 16,000 lighting fixtures, 59 escalators, and 20 elevators.

Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla called it the biggest solar project in the country.

The SM Group first launched the solar project in SM Xiamen in China, with 1.1 megawatts solar energy produced by 3,740 panels.

President Aquino said that with the project, the mall could save at least P2 million a month in energy expenses.

He said the launch of the project is important, considering the looming power crisis next year.

Assuring that the government is doing its best to address the problem, President Aquino reiterated his appeal to Congress for the approval of the joint resolution granting him emergency powers to contract additional power supply.

“We are hopeful that both the House (of Representatives) and the Senate will approve the joint resolution we requested sooner rather than later, in order to give the national government enough time to contract the necessary reserves,” he said.

The solar rooftop project is the brainchild of Senator Loren Legarda’s 21-year-old son, Leandro Leviste.

A graduate of Yale University, Leviste committed to help the government reach its solar installation target of 500 megawatts by 2016, as set by the Department of Energy (DOE).

“Years from now, it will be said that under President Aquino’s term, the Philippines became a global leader in solar power because he had the vision to see that solar is not just a sustainable and clean energy source, but also commercially viable and a decisive solution to the power crisis,” Leviste said in his remarks.

According to SM Supermalls President Annie Garcia, solar panels will also be installed in other SM malls, such as in SM City Dasmariñas in Cavite and in SM City Mall of Asia in Pasay City.

The SM City Dasmariñas will have 3,243 solar panels that are expected to generate 0.8 megawatts of power, while SM City Mall of Asia will have 10,534 solar panels that will generate 2.7 megawatts of power.

The SM Group is one of the private companies that support the DOE’s Interruptible Load Program, which aims to ease the demand for electricity and prevent the projected power crisis in the summer of 2015.

Also present during the event were House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Senator Loren Legarda, Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, and Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte. PND (jb)

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President Aquino hopes emergency powers would be granted soon
 
President Benigno S. Aquino III has reiterated his appeal to Congress for the approval of a joint resolution granting the government additional powers to address the looming energy crisis next year.

“We are hopeful that both the House (of Representatives) and the Senate will approve the joint resolution we requested sooner rather than later, in order to give the national government enough time to contract the necessary reserves,” the President said during the launch of the SM Solar Project in Quezon City on Monday.

The House energy committee last week approved Joint Resolution 21, which grants the President emergency powers to contract additional generating capacity to deal with a projected power shortage in Luzon next summer.

President Aquino said he expects the Senate to pass its version as well and come up with a joint resolution with Congress.

He emphasized the resolution’s importance in ensuring that there would be no energy shortage next year.

The President acknowledged the initiatives of private companies, such as the SM Group, in helping the government address energy problems.

“If we do not adjust accordingly, Luzon might experience a shortage of a minimum of around 300 megawatts, to a maximum of 1,000 megawatts next summer,” he said.

“This is not a challenge the national government can overcome alone, which is why we are all working with all sectors to address this issue,” he added.

He cited in particular the SM Group’s support for the Department of Energy’s Interruptible Load Program, wherein the group’s retail stores are expected to deload 57.9 megawatts of power during critical times when supply falls short of demand in summer.

“This might not be enough to address that shortage, but it is indeed a very significant step forward, and will hopefully spur other businesses to follow suit,” he said.

In the long term, President Aquino said the government’s goal is to “ensure a reliable, preferably clean and reasonably priced, power supply.”

The Energy Department is on its way towards achieving this goal, he said, citing an additional 5,098 megawatts of power expected to come online nationwide from 2014 to 2018, and the continuous efforts of government to encourage investment in power.

He also encouraged the private sector to invest in renewable energy, which he said the government is ready to incentivize.

“The use of renewable energy sources represents a long-term investment,” he said.

“It plays to our country’s strengths, provides insulation from fluctuations in the international oil market and thus allows us to be more self-sufficient, generates savings in terms of electricity costs, and also contributes to the preservation of the environment and mitigates the effects of climate change,” he added. PND (jb)

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