PNoy should have addressed Mindanao power crisis as soon as elected

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It’s getting harder and harder for President Noynoy Aquino to blame the previous government for the problems besetting the country today. One such problem is the ongoing energy crisis gripping Mindanao. Yes, the problem already existed even before he was elected but he has done nothing to address the situation. His obsession with the persecution of his political enemies, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) and her perceived ally in the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Renato Corona is certainly backfiring on him now.

There’s no need to spell out the economic cost of the daily power disruption in Mindanao. It is unimaginable why not much has been done since GMA left. Calls by those who are allied with PNoy to give him emergency powers to address the power shortage is so 2010, back when some congressmen and governors allied with GMA likewise suggested the same thing. During GMA’s term, the mere mention of “emergency powers” could send shivers down the spine of GMA’s critics though ironically, one of those who is advocating that the same thing be granted to PNoy is convicted mutineer and staunch GMA critic, Senator Antonio Trillanes. It’s probably another way of thanking PNoy for pardoning him and giving him his freedom. Now that he is part of the system, Trillanes should realize how difficult it was for GMA to deal with the crisis then without undermining the stakeholders particularly since she was also preoccupied with problems such as ex-soldiers who were trying to mount a coup d’état…but I digress.

PNoy’s allies are making it look like granting him emergency powers to address the energy crisis is the best option. I mean, after ignoring the problem for two years, they want people to think that since the situation is “urgent”, PNoy has to do something drastic to fix it. Anyway, whatever he is planning to do, let’s just hope it will be a long-term solution. Because just like with most things in the Philippines like sending workers abroad to address the shortage of dollar reserves, the government will likely find a short-term solution to make the problem go away or be someone else’s problem after their term ends.

PNoy is said to have scheduled an emergency meeting with the stakeholders in Mindanao in April to discuss the energy crisis. It is interesting to note that the late former Department of Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes also held DoE-led power stakeholders’ meetings in key cities in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. A proposed fast-tracked solution that included leasing power generator sets and the transfer of power barges from Luzon or Visayas was recommended after the meeting. The same hurdle involving congressional approval was also the issue before then President Arroyo could act. That was February of 2010. Our best guess is that nothing came out of it since the Presidential election transpired a month later coming with the usual drama that surrounds every election especially with PNoy being elected. Let’s not forget that former Secretary Reyes was also embroiled in a corruption scandal in the military, which resulted in his taking his own life.

It seems like the people of Mindanao are victims of too much politics in government. It’s so obvious that the people in charge of making decisions that affect the inhabitants of the second largest island in the country are suffering from analysis-paralysis. There are even conflicting reports about the real situation. Some people are saying that the power interruption and brownouts is the result of “deliberate acts and are part of a ploy of power distributors and the Aquino administration to justify the construction of more coal-fired power plants and other extractive energy projects such as Pulangi V Mega Dam.” Senator Koko Pimental is even calling for a Senate inquiry to find out what is really going on. This can only mean that the current Energy Secretary is not competent enough to give the people the most reliable information they need to evaluate the situation.

It’s not really fair that environmentalists are blaming the crisis on the greedy corporations. These environmentalists just need to recall the warning issued by people from the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) in 2010 that there will be a “power crisis three to five years from now”. Their prediction is just coming earlier than expected. Two years ago the region was already suffering from three to six hour blackouts due to power shortages brought about by reduced water levels at hydroelectric power plants in Mindanao. Today, not only are these power plants in need of repair and costly maintenance to run at full capacity, population growth has also increased the power needs of the region.

Perhaps call it unlucky but because people are slowly becoming aware of the risks, gone are the days when you can easily put up a dam or build a nuclear power plant without getting in trouble from environmentalist groups. Thanks to the nuclear meltdown in Japan after the recent earthquake, nowadays you can guarantee that people who are “concerned” about the environment or about safety will have their say about any proposal to build an alternative power source. Finding an “environmentally-sustainable” energy solution is all well and good except nothing is perfect. If we can’t survive without electricity, we need to do something about the problem and doing so will involve building structures that might upset some parts of the ecosystem. That is simply the price to pay for the increase in energy demand due to our steady annual population growth.

It’s not like the noise generated by environmentalists can stop PNoy from building the coal-fired power plant in Mindanao. He had reportedly okayed the construction of coal plants throughout the country: “in Isabela, Batangas, Manila, Quezon, Zambales, Davao del Sur, Saranggani and South Cotabato provinces. The year 2011 saw the inauguration of power plants in Cebu and Iloilo. And also, the government has granted tax holidays to companies investing on coal plants, such as Japanese corporation TeaM Energy in Pagbilao, Quezon, Petron in Limay, Bataan, and Therma South, Inc. of Aboitiz in Davao City.”

Why are environmentalists against coal-fired power stations? Aside from being non-renewable, they need huge amounts of fuel, which means truckloads of coal constantly. The plant also needs reserves where they can pile the coal and this will cover a large area of land next to the power station, which can destroy plant life and ruin landscapes. Coal is also the product of mining, an activity that is also a controversial topic in our country today due to its impact on the environment.

Why can’t the government build more dams? According to NGPC, a comprehensive dredging plan needs to be undertaken to the heavily silted Lake Mainit, the fourth largest lake in the country before a dam can be built. The plan to build a hydro power plant there in 2001 was shelved due to some “hitches”. You can take your pick among the usual “hitches” major government projects usually experience in the past because they are all too similar to the last one that put an end to projects moving ahead.

According to Senator Sergio Osmeña III, chairman of the Senate committee on energy, blame lies in “the executives and lawmakers in Mindanao and the environmentalist group Greenpeace for the island’s power woes characterized by crippling eight-hour daily power outages.” The politician insists that they have been “spoiled” because the people of Luzon and Visayas have been subsidizing the cost of Mindanao’s electricity. Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who was said to have agreed to subsidize the island, buying electricity for P3.50 a kilowatt-hour but selling it for only P2. And this subsidy is part of the reason any alternative solution or rise in cost is greeted with either skepticism or indignation by the players in Mindanao. Whatever GMA’s reasons for doing what she did, it kept people happy and forget they had an energy problem.

What are the other alternatives? The government should also look into tapping the use of natural gas. It releases less carbon dioxide than coal or oil, so it is better for the environment. Since Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras confirmed a new natural gas find off Palawan, the government should prioritize this as a long-term solution. One of the biggest advantages of using natural gas is the fact that there is so much of it. In Singapore, over 60% of its electricity is generated by gas. Singapore imports natural gas via pipeline from Malaysia and Indonesia, and also uses manufactured gas. Singapore officials are studying sourcing liquefied natural gas (LNG) as well, to further diversify supply. Fortunately for them, Singapore’s neighboring countries have large natural gas resources. Singapore also has a liberalized energy market, which has resulted in a more competitive market and reduced energy costs ensuring Singapore’s continued competitiveness.

One thing’s for sure. The energy crisis in Mindanao can become a countrywide problem if the supply does not meet the demand over a prolonged period. If you were an enterprising person, I suggest you go into the energy market because the people in the energy business are definitely making a killing. Which is probably the reason why the present crop of oligarchs who own the energy businesses in the country is against liberalizing the economy, and since PNoy is one of them, he is part of the problem.

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94 Comments on “PNoy should have addressed Mindanao power crisis as soon as elected”

  1. I often wonder how an intelligent guy like Trillanes could still fall for the ‘trustworthy’ facade that PNoy’s spinners project the president to be.

    With regard to ‘hitches’, these always miraculously come up whenever a project is not that monetarily profitable for the people who have the power to make it happen.

    1. Trillanes seems to have low EQ. He’s got no empathy for sure.

      Big projects will walk like turtles because everyone wants a piece of the action.

      1. I think not. LumaBan si Trillanes para sa bAyan mula sa corrupt na gobyernO Ni GLORIA. Dpat sya ipgmalaki.

        1. @Nutzi Vincenzo

          Mr. Trillanes is not loyal to the state. Recall Lt. Lawrence San Juan and the revealed CPP-NPA alliance with the Magdalo Group in Batangas. He is a traitor and an ally of the communist movement. I dislike the red Magdalo. Did Mr. Trillanes publicly renounce his communist alliance?

        2. Tumulong ng malaki si tita Cory-kurakot mo na matanggal si Erap sa pwesto, at bumoto ang tito abNoy mo na huwag ipatugtog ang ‘Hello Garci‘ tapes. Walang matinong pag-iisip mga trapo na yan! Puro lang kayo mga tuta nila Aquino. Lalong bagsak ang pinas dahil sa kanila. Makukulong rin yan si abNoy sa bandang huli, kung hindi sa bilibid, sa mental hospital yan.

  2. Government must carefully plan the type of power plants it will build. Coal fired generating plants will cause environmental pollution. Mining, transport, storage and burning of coal causes environmental and health problems. Sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide released to the atmosphere is not an option.Coal dust causes black lung.

    Maintenance programs should be made on a periodic and regular basis to ensure the continuity of existing power plants. All concerned government officials should ensure transparency and honesty in deals and transactions. In its absence, power rates can and will be rigged to go up without valid reasons. Unjustified rate increases means price increases affecting services, goods and basic commodities.

    Expanding the power grid gives the government better alternatives in power generation. Note the following:

    1. Geothermal Power Plants.
    2. Biomass-Fuelled Power Plants.
    3. Solar Thermal Electric Power.
    4 Wind Power Turbines.

    The business of electric power generation should be given serious thought and consideration by the present administration. Failure to do so means no electric power for industries, offices, built up areas and infrastructure. No power means no production and no work. Darkness at night means cover for criminality and terrorism.

    1. I apologize for what may seem as double-ups. The above original disappeared and I thought it was lost. I added other similar comments below to correct the loss.

  3. Subjects and Objects to be considered in State Power Generation…

    1. The construction of a strategic power generation plan outlining selected power generation models, types, capacities, maintenance modules/programs, upgrading and contingency fail safe options. Priority to select alternative, environmentally safer and more efficient power generation systems.

    2. Genuine government response and transparency in operations of state power plants. This is to prevent unjustified power rate increases. Public explanation and hearing will promote transparency and prevent power cheating from unscrupulous producers and distributors.

    3. Strict application of government accountability to concerned officials of the government power sector.

    4. Periodic reportage of the operations and status of area-wide state power generation grid. This is to ensure immediate response to prevent blackouts.

    Please add your comments.

    1. The government should study the following systems as better options to dirty coal fired power generating plants:

      1. Biomass-Fueled power plants. Sources of fuel like waste from sugar cane, municipal solid waste, landfill methane gas and other biomass.

      2. Geothermal Power Plants.

      3. Solar Thermal Electric Power.

      4. Wind Turbine Power.

      1. Small Wind Turbine Generators can be locally manufactured. They can rotate on a Vertical or Horizontal Axis…Local Designers can easily do this…however, be careful on the infringement of existing patents…just check it on U.S patent offices…
        You need an Electrical Inverter, to change the DC current to AC current. You need also a Battery to store power. Wind Turbines must be installed 50 feet above ground, to have a maximum efficiency…

      2. Geothermal Power Plants need to be built on top of wells. Location is a major consideration.

        Biomass, Solar and Wind Power are not cost-effective.

        Nuclear Power is the way to go.

    2. Well here’s my comments, your suggestions are worthless. It is worthless in the sense that it wouldn’t scratch the King in Yellow’s thick skull. Seriously you know his mentality and do you think he’s gonna take it seriously much less listen to it?

      However your suggestions do have merit, it’s just that the King in Yellow won’t be thinking along those lines…..

      1. @ Lord Chimera

        The dense yellow royal should wake up. Given his track record you may be right. Then it is time to wake up the sleeping president with mass peaceable assembly to air our grievances. Public pressure and public opinion might work.

        But he can always switch to his revealed state secret in solving his very heavy work load. Delegate authority and tasking. He might delegate power too. Designate people to act on his behalf. This will “lessen” his “heavy” load allowing him more quality time in his relaxation games.

      2. Very true! How sad that majority of the Filipinos voted for an incompetent,ambitious and egoistic leader. He seems to end his term by crafting a legacy on his obsession of persecuting GMA, regardless of his cheap address on our economy. His government is his playground because he was deprived by playing during his childhood…When we Filipinos would learn to vote the most qualified one? The crisis in Mindanao is just a cycle of political culture in our country…This culture must be changed by changing our own culture of voting. Sadly, few Filipinos understands on how to vote intelligently. Now, we are still suffering the same and worsening poverty in our country.

    3. They are all good suggestions. Unfortunately, you are up against oligarchs who hold a monopoly on the energy business. Some of them have invested heavily on buying generators and power barges to lease to governments.

      Aside from that, you have government bureaucracy that simply hold back implementing all the necessary upgrading and changes to the system.

  4. Not possible, all technicals are outside the country working properly, applied to da Pinas it will not work even if it is top-of-the-line because of system rejection or cost overrun, except ‘bagong kabit.’

  5. Noynoy Aquino does not need any emergency power.He needs a Good Kick on his Rear End, for his unable to solve any of the country’s problems. He approved Coal firing energy sources…this will pollute the environment. However, his business partners will profit from it. Noynoy Aquino came to office, without any , Comprehensive Energy Program or Plans. Until now, he is trying to put BAND-AID solutions to our perenial energy problems and shortages…

  6. We should imitate countries like Colombia which have been using government initiatives to expand the power industry. Stocks are sold to the public openly making the people stockholders and therefore making sure public investments are done properly. There has to be a way to block oligarchs from buying majority of the stocks, ordinary Filipinos should invest in power generation!!!

    1. Our lawmakers should not go to bed with the businessmen. Their priority should be how to make everything cheaper by coming up with a law that would open up the market and give all enterprising people a fair go.

      1. Our businessmen are politicians and our politicians are businessmen. Their fingerprints are everywhere from lobbying in congress to sitting in the board of some public and private corporations.

  7. nung nasa egypt ako, last 2006, sa isang compound na pinuntahan namin merong isang malaking reactor na ang gatong ay mga basura…yung basura na yun, niluluto nila at yung usok mula sa basura ang ginagamit na fuel para paandarin yung malaking generator nila…naisip ko lang, ang Pilipinas ay nagtatapon ng milyong tonelada ng basura araw araw, in fact, nagiging isang malaking problema na nga sa bansa natin ang basura…kung i-adapt natin yung teknolohiya na nakita ko sa egypt, wayback 2006, hindi kaya maging solusyon sa problema sa enerhiya ang milyon milyong tonelada ng basura na itinatapon natin araw araw?…
    two birds in one shot…it will ultimately solve our problem with solid waste…

    1. We certainly have a lot of trash lying around that we could recycle and use to fire up power plants. Although it could still emit more carbon dioxide compared to natural gas, I suppose.

      1. hindi po madam ilda, sa pamamagitan ng pyrolysis, or pagsusunog na walang oxygen, ang tanging emission nito ay water vapor, ang carbon (since walang oxygen, ay hindi nagiging carbon dioxide) ay nagiging uling (biochar) na apuwedeng gamitin naman bilang soil improvement, na mas mabisa kesa sa compost. ang mga synthetic gases tulad ng nitrous oxide, methane, etc, ang ginagamit naman para gawing fuel sa gas turbine.
        kung magagawa ito sa bansa natin, malaking improvement ito dahil masosolusyunan ang problema natin sa enerhiya at sa basura…
        ginagamit na rin po ang teknnolohiyang ito dito sa saudi arabia, “trash to energy” sa pangunguna ng saudi aramco, actually, very handy po ako sa technology na ito kasi isa ako sa mga technicians na nagkabit at nagkomisyon ng gasifier sa isang planta ng saudi aramco dito sa saudi…

        1. Mabuti ka pa, cool ass. Ang galing mo mag-explain. Hinde kagaya ng iba dyan ang yabang na kaagad. If I only had the money to invest on that kind of technology, I would. It sounds incredibly ideal for our situation. Considering the middle east has all the oil they can use, they still use recycled materials to fire up their energy plant. It’s very inspiring.

        2. thanks maam ilda 🙂 actually, saudi aramco is investing a lot on renewable resources, nagko conduct din po kami ng “hydraulic fracturing” or yung tinatawag na “fracking” para makapag generate ng steam gamit ang init ng lupa…walang bulkan sa saudi na puwedeng maging source ng geothermal energy, pero by using their massive money and technology nakakagawa sila ng man made geothermal source..sana ang gobyerno ng pilipinas ay maging kasing epektibo ng gobyerno ng saudi, mas mayaman tayo sa likas na yaman kesa sa kanila (except for oil) pero dahil epektibo ang pamamalakad ng gobyerno, never mind na corrupt, napakaganda at napaka yaman ng bansa at ng mga mamamayan…actually, karamihan po ng mga engineers at technicians sa saudi aramco ay Pilipino…we have the brains, epektibong pamamalakad lang ang kailangan ng bansa natin

        3. karamihan po ng mga engineers at technicians sa saudi aramco ay Pilipino…we have the brains, epektibong pamamalakad lang ang kailangan ng bansa natin

          Kaya nga dapat ang gobyerno ay pinupondohan ang mga research na katulad nito para tuloy-tuloy ang pag-hanap ng alternative solution. Hinde naman dahil meron na tayong hydroelectric plant eh pwede na tayong nakasandal lang sa pader at mag-party hanggang masira yun bago kumilos. At saka, dapat they should open the market for competition para yung mga gustong mag-invest na foreigners to do the hard work can come in. Ang gusto kasi ng mga naka-upo sa gobyerno ay yung mga existing suppliers lang ang makinabang. Maybe they get to dine and wine with these people or seal the deal over a golf game.

        4. tungkol naman po dun sa application ng technology, actually plano ko po na magtayo ng isang pyrolyser/pyrolysis reactor sa farm ko sa bicol, ang gagamitin kong feedstock ng reactor ay ang mga farm litters or yung mga basura sa farm…all kinds and forms of garbage…ay yung effluent gases nya ay kokolektahin ko sa isang storage tank na ako na din ang gagawa para maging fuel. ang makina naman na gagamitin ko ay katulad din ng ordinaryong makina ng de gasolinang sasakyan, may gagawin lang akong konting improvements or modifications…ang ulin na by product ng pyrolysis naman ang gagamitin kong pataba sa lupa…sa ngayon po nagsisimula pa lang ang farm ko, pero plan ko na next year maipatupad ko at magawa ang pyrolysis reactor na ito at ang “trash to gas” fuelled na makina…gusto kong magawa ito para maipakita ko sa mga kapwa ko pilipino na merong solusyon…hindi lang sa energy crises kundi pati na rin sa basura…

        5. Excellent. Thanks for sharing all that. Good luck with the project. I hope someone will invest on your technology.

    2. two birds in one shot…it will ultimately solve our problem with solid waste…

      we might be underestimating da pinoy’s capacity to churn out more waste (thrown just about anywhere they please) than could be handled by any technology. basurahan lang di pa magamit ng maayos. compactor garbage trucks roam manila everyday, squeezing unsorted waste as they go, soaking the streets with fishy juice that gets spread around by vehicle tyres. pinoy na pinoy talaga.

      1. Parallax, kapag nagawa sa ating bansa ang teknolohiyang “trash to energy”, we might need more trash to feed our reactors, and the law of supply and demand applies, hehehe
        just a wishful thinking though 🙂

    3. A system extracting methane gas from garbage landfill areas will work. Another method creating wood alcohol(i.e. methanol) will have a chain reaction effect. This will encourage agro-forestry(ex. giant ipil-ipil planting) which will create livelihood for planters. This will also develop a methanol production industry that will provide livelihood to many.

      Burning methanol in a thermodynamic system provides extreme heat that heats water in boilers producing high pressure steam. This steam turns the turbines that generates electrical power.

  8. Meron akong ginawang design ng Pyrolysis Reactor, na nais kong buuiin kapag umuwi na ako jan sa Pilipinas…walang problema sa gatong kasi nagkalat ang basura sa ating paligid…pinag aaralan ko na lang ngayon kung paano ma-convert ang de gasolinang makina sa makinang ang gatong ay synthetic gas na galing sa basura…

    1. That’s cool, cool ass.

      You should work on it because there is a demand for alternative source of energy. You could strike it rich and help the people at the same time.

      1. madam ilda, actually gusto kong gumawa ng article tungkol sa “trash to energy technology” pero hindi ako gifted sa pagsusulat, hehehe…if you can write an article for me, i’ll feed you with the info you need, just email me po…ronraf20062gmail.com
        very handy ako sa technology na ito kasi isa ako sa mga technicians na nag set up at nag commission ng gasifier plant ng saudi aramco…

        1. Hi Cool Ass

          Let’s see what we can do. I’ll send you an email later or maybe one of the boys can write it. I know some of them are engineers. Thanks!

        2. sorry for the typo error, it’s ronraf 2006@gmail.com
          hihintayin ko ang email nyo mam ilda…may actual hands on experience ako sa trash to garbage technology, gasification (na binabanggit ni harakiri) at pyrolysis, gusto ko lang makatulong, i think sharing my knowledge here will do…salamat po 🙂

    2. if only doc emmett brown knew how much garbage floats along pasig river, he’d have no problem generating 1.21 gigawatts minute by minute here in the philippines.

      pinoys – more salaula in the philippines

  9. @Ilda,
    You need to do more research before writing blogs like this. Otherwise you are just Noynoying about something which is not your cup of tea . First, Luzon grid has been using natural gas for more than a decade now – about 3000 MW power generating capacity. Second who told you that you release less carbon dioxide when you burn natural gas? Is this another Chemistry 101 theory? If you’ll say, less harmful effluent gases then that is more acceptable.

    1. @harakiri:

      http://www.naturalgas.org/environment/naturalgas.asp#greenhouse

      “Because carbon dioxide makes up such a high proportion of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, reducing carbon dioxide emissions can play a pivotal role in combating the greenhouse effect and global warming. The combustion of natural gas emits almost 30 percent less carbon dioxide than oil, and just under 45 percent less carbon dioxide than coal.”

      you need to do your own research, otherwise you jam your foot in your mouth.

      1. @Parallax,
        Eat your own sh%t. You even don’t know what you are quoting. Regardless of fuel, you need the same amount of Carbon for a given reaction/ combustion to produce heat. And the heat is just converted to electricity. The point of contention is the efficiency of your generating system. You have to invest more on the equipment to tap natural gas then you get your result of cleaner emission. It is not straight forward.

        1. you eat your own sh1t, harakiri. you still haven’t refuted what i’ve just cited.

          up to the challenge or are you just gonna fling cuss words like a wimp?

        2. I don’t blame you for being naive about the word efficiency in terms of power generation.
          The reason why you produce more carbon dioxide in the traditional way is because you really have to burn more fuel “physically” due to the nature of the process. With natural gas, everything is ready to be burned in the form of methane. But in coal for instance,you have to segregate it first,remove other non-combustible substance, crush it, grind it then burn it in the furnace, generate steam through your boiler , then run your turbine and finally run your generator. Along the process, you have to burn more coal because you have to compensate for the losses and hence more carbon dioxide. But this has been circumvented by the coal gassification technology which still targets coal as the main fuel but the same emission levels as the natural gas and uses less coal too. We have more coal reserve than natural gas. So it should more of investing on technology than depleting the natural gas reserve.
          BTW, it is also not cheap to tap the natural gas reserve especially if you will use it in greenfield projects like Mindanao.

        3. Then the real issue then is that “renewable” energy sources are not really cheap — but that you need to bite the bullet and spend more for energy in order to do less damage to the environment (assuming that the theory on how big an impact human activity actually does have on planetary climate is correct). In short, either way, there is a cost to that ability of ours to do things “cheaper, faster, and better” upon which much of our technologically-enabled high-consumption mega-buck commercial civilisation is built. All roads lead to the absolute effect of mass-production and mass-consumption and the multiplier contribution of population growth. That more “efficient” or “cleaner” energy is a solution skirts the real issue.

        4. In other words, the process of using coal is longer and produces more carbon dioxide compared to using natural gas unless we are using what you call “gassification technology”. So therefore, if we are not using that, it is still worth looking into using natural gas.

          I think saying that it is not cheap to tap natural gas is a bit lame. Caring for the environment is never cheap anyway. Just because something is cheap doesn’t mean we should continue using it never mind if it’s wreaking havoc on the environment. We can’t just wait for the time when we are already in dire need before we look into using alternatives. We should be looking into everything now.

        5. you could have spoken about efficiency much earlier than just chestbeating and wouldn’t have been slapped silly.

          if that’s where you’re coming from, you still didn’t disprove that you’ll get less greenhouse gas from natural gas versus coal or oil (never mind that you didn’t mention what to compare it with). that’s what you raised, right?

          so next time, leave the attitude at the door. clearly, you still haven’t refuted what i’ve cited (or what ilda said, for that matter).

        6. @Parallax,

          (never mind that you didn’t mention what to compare it with)
          a little common sense. I am of course comparing natural gas to other fossil fuels like coal and fuel oil because they are all carbon bearers. I cannot compare it to hydro or solar for that matter.
          And let me add, let us not exclude other possible fuels like wood – they too produce carbon dioxide when burned.

        7. asking for commonsense doesn’t start with “eat sh1t,” so you reap what you sow.

          no worries, harakiri. i get what you’re trying to say, though regardless of efficiency or cost issues, fact remains that natural gas would generate less greenhouse emissions than options like coal.

        8. @HaraKiri

          You said: “With natural gas, everything is ready to be burned in the form of methane.” Dead giveaway. Natural gas and methane gas are two different gases. Explain your statement. Do you really work for the power industry?

        1. If you work in the power industry and you think you know more about the subject than other people, why do you have to act so arrogant? What did we do to you that makes you act like this?

          It’s amazing that you don’t even appreciate an article that tries to generate a discussion on the problems Filipinos are facing today.

          You call my article Noynoying, right? Why don’t you come up with an article outlining what you know?

    2. @HaraKiri

      Where in the article did I say that Luzon is not using natural gas? Does Mindanao use natural gas?

      Second who told you that you release less carbon dioxide when you burn natural gas?

      Compared to what? Coal or fossil fuels? Please be specific. Plez 😉

      1. @Harakiri

        I was just lurking around the net and this topic seems interesting.

        If you say you work at a power plant, is it right for us to assume that you hold a “shot calling” position and are an expert on the topic? Ilda here along with us others also want to hear what an expert have to say.

        Please do abstain from the “colorful” language though. Salamat.

        1. @wanderer
          I’m sorry, that’s not colorful, it’s just the lingo in power industry and also in chemical industry (which I am also handling in parallel).
          @Ilda ,
          Apologies if you found my comment so arrogant. ( I don’t need to elaborate my reason why I’m irritated. I just hate to see that our country is so divided on teh issues.). Ok, If I have time to write about relevant issues, I will write then share.

        2. Ok. We don’t all have to agree on everything. We all have our own biases. It would be good if we can refrain from using foul language in insulting other people’s views.

        3. Copy that! Different industries, different jargons. I appreciate it you realized each of us are relative laymen to each others’ respective disciplines.

          Hope you can contribute to the topic further.

      2. @Ilda,@benign0,
        The coal gasification technology development is reaching maturity so the government can actually tap it but I don’t know once politics enter the scene. For Mindanao’s case, building a natural gas pipeline takes time. The entire Malampaya project started during the time of Cory, passed as a legacy to Ramos, commissioned during Erap’s and GMA’s & PNoy’s governments reap the rewards for having it. Compressing the gas in the form of LNG – Liquified Natural Gas may fast track the supply as it can be delivered by ships/tankers but at the end, you still have to build new plants which will take several months to year/s. Add to that the cost of compressing/liquifying the gas, transporting it and constructing the facility to store it on-site. But this is for the time-being that the pipeline is being constructed. In short, you have to pour-in more money to fast-track everything. This was the approach used by Ramos back then but PNoy is already being cautioned on adapting this as the effect will definitely reverberate on the price of energy – something which is already beating the people. And.. we need to allow him to do that. Complicate the matter with:

        1) Lobbying/Lobbyists – all paid by this and that technology provider. Whoever offers the bigger money will win the favor of the decision-maker. Com’on, governments from past to present are all guilty of adapting this practice in a way or another. Take note how much burden the repayment of overpriced Bataan Nuclear Plant loan had given the Fiipino people.

        2)People – who are less and hate to be educated on the newer technologies that would not harm the environment. Building any plant nowadays will face opposition from the people themeselves who are more often than not, pacified either by a leftist group or by a political enemy.

        3) Politics – kami-kami / kayo-kayo . And I believe, we are in this factor because of either our partisanship or preferred leader. I may cross another line if I will huddle everyone here to support the projects of the current government because this site, from the very first time I visited it ,already had shown its bias against it. I stop here.

        There’s no such thing as free lunch . Going renewable is always more costly but you don’t deplete the natural resources and you don’t release greenhouse gases. Err,,another payback when we use renewable sources. Look at the people devastated by flash floods as a result of releasing the water on the power generation dams. 🙁 . Well, I said no free lunch .
        Lastly, we need to boost reforestation as trees/plants are the only known natural consumers of carbon dioxide in the air. Oil price hike is on the global scale because of the tension in the Persian region. We produce only less than 10% of our crude oil refining requirements and with this, we are highly dependent on imports. Singapore is also adjusting power rates starting May of this year and they have already jacked up the price of petrol and other crude oil derivatives. We Filipinos are not alone on the issue and we have actually more resources to tap. But where is the great divide?

        1. I guess it is a similar quagmire across the spectrum of infrastructure issues much the same way as prioritisation of more sensible transport solutions (an issue that is closer to the awareness of most common folk) continues to elude the sensibilities of a succession of national and local governments.

        2. For Mindanao’s case, building a natural gas pipeline takes time.

          We certainly wasted a lot of time doing nothing. And this is partly because of analysis-paralysis. Had they started the construction of alternative sources of energy years ago, then the people of Mindanao would not be in this predicament now. Again, it has a lot to do with lack of foresight coupled with not taking the warnings of experts seriously.

          Compressing the gas in the form of LNG – Liquified Natural Gas may fast track the supply as it can be delivered by ships/tankers but at the end, you still have to build new plants which will take several months to year/s. Add to that the cost of compressing/liquifying the gas, transporting it and constructing the facility to store it on-site. But this is for the time-being that the pipeline is being constructed. In short, you have to pour-in more money to fast-track everything.

          This can be addressed by bringing in foreign or local investors who are are willing to shoulder the costs. Since the government does not have or want to allocate public funds into this, private enterprise can provide the funds needed to build/operate the plants and transport costs. Opening the energy market will definitely help bring in more providers of services into the picture and can also make the prices/rates more competitive.

          1) Lobbying/Lobbyists – all paid by this and that technology provider. Whoever offers the bigger money will win the favor of the decision-maker.

          Well this is why you can’t blame some people for not being “proud to be Pinoy”. Our decision-makers are just making a fool of the people. Problem is, the people keep voting the same ones in.

          2)3) Politics – kami-kami / kayo-kayo . And I believe, we are in this factor because of either our partisanship or preferred leader. I may cross another line if I will huddle everyone here to support the projects of the current government because this site, from the very first time I visited it ,already had shown its bias against it. I stop here.

          Any member of the oligarchy who gets voted into public service will more than likely protect their own interests. PNoy is part of the problem because he is part of the oligarchy.

          There’s no such thing as free lunch . Going renewable is always more costly but you don’t deplete the natural resources and you don’t release greenhouse gases. Err,,another payback when we use renewable sources. Look at the people devastated by flash floods as a result of releasing the water on the power generation dams. . Well, I said no free lunch.

          Which is why natural gas might be a better alternative.

          Lastly, we need to boost reforestation as trees/plants are the only known natural consumers of carbon dioxide in the air.

          Filipinos are doing the opposite. Deforestation seems to be the in thing in the Philippines. Wonder no more why this site is called “Get Real Philippines”.

          Oil price hike is on the global scale because of the tension in the Persian region. We produce only less than 10% of our crude oil refining requirements and with this, we are highly dependent on imports.

          And yet we are not even working on being more self-sufficient. Filipinos keep consuming fuel like there is no tomorrow. The so-called “elite” or “educated” members of the community can’t act as role-models in adopting an environmentally friendly lifestyle with their SUVS and decadent lifestyles. Our population growth rate is also very alarming. The supply of goods and services will not meet the demands one day soon.

        3. Someone just gave me a link to a 2010 announcement from a site called Hydroworld.com. It appears that during GMA’s term, there was already a plan to build another hydroelectric power plant:

          Agus III hydropower project set for construction in Philippines

          “SAGUIARAN, Philippines 4/8/10 (PennWell) —

          Construction of a 240-MW hydroelectric power plant is set to begin in the Southern Philippines, amid a power crisis in the region.

          The Agus III hydroelectric power project will be constructed along the Agus River complex within Saguiaran in Lanao del Sur and the municipalities of Pantar and Balo-i in Lanao del Norte, wire services reported.

          Construction of the hydro project is financed by the Exim Bank of China, wire reports indicate.

          Provincial officials said the construction of the new hydroelectric power plant would help bring relief to the current power problem in Mindanao and would also create more employment opportunities.

          Also in Mindanao, Aboitiz Power Corporation, through wholly-owned subsidiary Hedcor Inc., signed an agreement with the Davao City Water District, paving the way for the eventual construction of a 10 to 15 megawatt hydroelectric power plant along the Tamugan River.”

  10. IF Railroading=Drastic Move= Noynoying = Corruption = Pnoy. then Baluktot and Daan Na Matuwid. What else can we expect?

    1. Yan ay mga tsismis lamang ng kalaBan ni Tito Noy. Ang dpt gwin ng mamamayan ay tUlungan sya,at hnd ang maling taktika ng kalaBan.

      1. sorry but it’s no rumor. pnoy has proven that when he wants something done he can railroad it past everything else in queue.

        it’s just too bad that pnoy have all the wrong priorities because ultimately he has to serve his master, and it ain’t the filipino people.

        1. Tsismis you say? Why your boss the King in Yellow seems to rely on tsisimis rather than the rule of law.

  11. Ilda, is it possible that one of the biggest reasons the Mindanao power situation was left to rot is because Noynoy is perceived to not really enjoy much popular support there?

    It’s sickening that the people have to pay the price, literally, for the government’s screw-ups.

    The apple definitely didn’t fall far from the tree. Mother and son are both in the dark about energy woes. The dimbulbs in government need to be replaced ASAP.

    1. The problem already existed even before PNoy got elected. It just got worst because the el nino is causing draught, which put the water levels down; the population is growing, which jacks up the demand; and the plant is in bad shape and is scheduled for the much needed repairs.

      And yes, this is one region that PNoy might be too popular at the moment.

  12. @HaraKiri

    I repeat, you said: “With natural gas, everything is ready to be burned in the form of methane.” Natural gas is different from methane gas. Your statement is a dead giveaway. Are you really an expert and working for the power industry?

    1. @Der Fuhrer
      Did I say I am an “expert” in the power industry? I just said I am in the power industry. And may I ask what component do you expect in a natural gas? Of course there will be heavy gases like ethane, and heavier liquid components like condensates and natural gas liquids.But they are all knocked down in the gas plant before NG is distributed to the customer leaving only methane. Now what do you have in mind aside from the one you get from the Wikis?

        1. Alam ko nga mga-engineers mababait eh. They have to have that patience to last in their career, especially if they have to deal with a boss who cannot understand what they are saying.

        1. I just dropped by and have no ambition of convincing anyone – especially you. If you don’t know the stuff, better not say anything about it because that is self-defeating. I am not referring to any wikis when I talk about my experience – in short, I know the stuff because that’s been my bread and butter for 16 years until now– take it or not. Now if you have something to say that would benefit Ilda’s readers then say it instead of a void blabber tell it the marines ; words so empty and so stupid.

        2. Replying by way of fallacy in personal insults speaks for itself. You have not bothered to explain the anomaly. Natural gas is different from methane gas.

  13. Hi,

    Can anyone tell me if there is a master plan for developing the Power Generation industry for the next 10 to 20 years time? It’s quite alarming to read that in a country like the Philippines that power outrages is still a common occurance. Each time such an incident occur, it’s an expensive affair for the country overrall.

    From Wikipedia:

    “2003 blackout

    The southern Peninsular Malaysia electricity blackout crisis affected the southern part of Peninsular Malaysia, including Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Malacca and Johor due to a power failure. The 5 states (including Kuala Lumpur) had been affected for 5 hours from 10.00 am local time (02:00 UTC) to 3.00 pm (07:00 UTC) on September 4, costing industries $13.8 million”

    $13.8 million dollars in just 5 hours at 2003 prices!

    I really hope the Philippine government will overcome this problem soon otherwise the country will just lag more in terms of economic development around the ASEAN region. I shudder to think if a another social crisis like the May 13th riots of 1969 (Malaysia) or the May 1998 riots of Indonesia could happen in 10 to 20 years time in the Philippines.

    1. Can anyone tell me if there is a master plan for developing the Power Generation industry for the next 10 to 20 years time? It’s quite alarming to read that in a country like the Philippines that power outrages is still a common occurance. Each time such an incident occur, it’s an expensive affair for the country overrall.

      There is none. It’s quite baffling, isn’t it.

      1. There is none. It’s quite baffling, isn’t it.

        There is a master plan but for some reason, there is always a bottleneck in the implementation. Check the DoE portal and you’ll find plans.
        I’ve been outside the country for 12 years and I can only relate to the project implementations in the host countries where I work/ed. Say for instance in Vietnam, project implementation is easier because people listen to the government. When the government wants a particular piece of land for a given project, people leave silently; absolutely without protests. No sleazy City/Barangay officials so less bureaucracy. Middle East and Singapore are different cases (comparing to Vietnam’s) but quite similar to each other in project development flow – very fast ; this probably due to very strong financing and tight government control. Here in Singapore for example, if you delay your project, you will pay to the government for the backlog ….Ours may be the exact opposite because there, before a project gets implemented, the powers-that-be would have already secured a bribe thereby losing their moral authority to implement tighter control.

        1. Thank you for the information. Just discovered that Philippines had even managed to built a nuclear power station before. A remarkable feat for the Philippines even if it was not commissioned.

          Perhaps as a medium term measure,the Philippines could look at the feasibility of buying electricity from Malaysia generated by the Bakun Dam. I do know that they have excess capacity and the price is relatively low (17 cents malaysian per KWH or roughly 2.2php KWH)compared to what consumers pay in the Philippines.

        2. There is a master plan but for some reason, there is always a bottleneck in the implementation.

          In other words, it’s just on the drawing board. Which can also mean that since it has not been implemented, they could easily scrap that plan.

          Say for instance in Vietnam, project implementation is easier because people listen to the government. When the government wants a particular piece of land for a given project, people leave silently; absolutely without protests.

          Vietnam is a communist country, which explains why it is easy for the government to take control of lands.

          Ours may be the exact opposite because there, before a project gets implemented, the powers-that-be would have already secured a bribe thereby losing their moral authority to implement tighter control.

          Blame the people who keep electing the public servants who keep doing the same things over and over.

        3. Perhaps as a medium term measure,the Philippines could look at the feasibility of buying electricity from Malaysia

          Submarine power cable is expensive. If that that’s the case then, it would be better to get the power from the Visayan Grid which is having a surplus of around 300MW now. That is more than enough to relieve the power shortage in Mindanao. But again, there’s no power transmission cable. It will take time to build, and it is very costly. It will definitely add to the price of energy. The fastest will be power barges (again) ..just as in time of Ramos.

        4. we can supply power through barges but that doesn’t mean we don’t have to explore options of better energy sources.

          Why not do both?

          it seems that this gov’t is as worse as Cory’s admin.

          ewan ko ba bakit Santa paningin ng mga tao sa kaniya.

  14. The situation in Mindanao is obvious.

    noynoy and his ilk want to privatize the powerplants. It happened with the Geothermal plant with davao which raised the prices of electricity in just a month despite the fact that the company that bought it used inferior materials that caused a pipe explosion that WAS NOT REPORTED in media.

    I’d like to remind everyone about this article as he callously says with a smile

    “There are only two choices: pay a little more for energy, or live with the rotating brownouts”

    http://www.sunstar.com.ph/davao/local-news/2012/04/14/aquino-time-pay-more-power-216226

    1. @Ergo

      Thanks for the reminder. These things are not highlighted by the media because aside from mainstream media being beholded to the incumbent President, the topic is too boring for majority of the readers. Finding a permanent solution to the energy crisis doesn’t interest them enough.

      BS Aquino and his minions reminds me of the villains in comic book inspired films like Batman or even the villains in James Bond films. You know, those who want to control the sun or sources of energy so they can have world domination. The idea is so silly, indeed.

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