By Myrna M. Velasco
The European Union (EU) will be funneling funds to energize some communities in Cebu, Bohol and Palawan – three of the major island-grids in the country that are flourishing economically primarily on the sphere of tourism and development of key industries.
The EU will be providing 2.2 million euros (roughly P120 million) for these solar-underpinned electrification projects via its Access to Sustainable Energy Programme (ASEP).
As packaged, this electrification venture will be carried out through the Project Renewable Energy for Livelihood and Youth (RELY), which is an awardee under the EU-ASEP initiative, a program aimed at ending “energy poverty” in the Philippines. RELY’s proposal was selected from among 31 entries submitted to the EU-ASEP.
For the three specified island-grid communities, the project will be undertaken by proponents German firm sequa gGmbH, and local entities Vivant Foundation and PROCESS-Bohol in collaboration with EU-ASEP. The project was launched in Cebu City last week.
The project vehicle RELY, as stipulated, will bolster the use of renewable energy by providing energy access to marginalized communities that had been deprived of such service over the years.
And part of the higher end goal, not just of the project-host country but for the world, will be to mitigate the perilous impact of climate change, primarily to high-risk and intensely vulnerable countries like the Philippines.
For RELY, in particular, it noted that it will be targeting energization of 16 off-grid public schools in the three provinces covered by the project.
“The approach combines solar electrification with community development and improved vocational education by collaborating with partner senior high schools,” the project implementing entity said.
As noted by Vivant Foundation Executive Director Shem Jose Garcia, the EU grant will allow them to concretize long-term aspiration not just to power up electricity service-stricken communities but also to enhance the curriculum for senior high schools.
“It was always our intention that one senior high school with the enhanced curriculum will serve several off-grid schools within a cluster. This grant allows us to fulfill that dream by forming four of these clusters,” he stressed.
Garcia noted that at Vivant in particular, “we plan all our projects to be detail-oriented, forward-looking and adaptable and we strongly feel that this project allows communities to live according to all three concepts.”
ASEP is a joint project of the Department of Energy and the EU which targets to widen the base of renewable energy usage in the electrification of Philippine communities – as tied up also to the aim of the Philippine government to fulfill 100-percent household electrification by year 2022.