As part of the month-long observance of this year’s National Electrification Awareness Month (NEAM), the National Electrification Administration (NEA) recently hosted the Renewable Energy Investors and Businesses Conference, which gathered some 700 participants from 117 electric cooperatives nationwide.
The event, held at the NEA H.E.S. Auditorium in Quezon City, kicked off with opening remarks from NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong, who urged all electric cooperatives to pursue the use of mini-grids and distributed generation systems to provide electricity to the nation’s remotest areas.
The NEA is mandated to implement the government’s rural electrification program.
Masongsong said the government has set the goal to achieve ninety percent (90%) household electrification by 2017. However, energizing the remote and isolated communities is not easy, he said, citing the archipelagic characteristics of the Philippines as the biggest challenge.
Two million households across the country are still without access to electricity according to the latest government electrification data.
“The remoteness of many areas especially small islands scattered within the archipelago and the isolated upland communities make it impossible for all potential consumers to be connected to the main electricity grid,” he said.
Mini-grids, the NEA chief further said, offer a potential solution to provide electricity connections to remote communities that do not have access to the power grid.
“Understandably, high upfront costs often make this approach prohibitive. Nevertheless, in increasing universal access to energy, these communities need a flexible, stable and reliable electricity supply for a sustainable socioeconomic development in these far-flung villages,” Masongsong said.
“Given the constraints in providing reliable and adequate electrification services in remote and isolated areas as well as assuring power supply sufficiency in the electric cooperatives’ franchise, the NEA wants to encourage the ECs to pursue the use of mini-grids and distributed generations,” he added.
Among the invited speakers at the Renewable Energy Investors and Businesses Conference were National Renewable Energy Board (NREB) Chairman Jose Layug, Jr. and Department of Energy – Renewable Energy Management Bureau (DOE-REMB) Director Mario Marasigan.
Recently, NEA also held various activities in support of NEAM including the ceremonial switch-on of the 12 millionth consumer connection and the opening of the Renewable Energy Investors Exhibit. This year’s NEAM coincides with the 48th Founding Anniversary of NEA.