USC Hosts First Philippine International Microgrid Exhibition and Conference
Photo by Keith Ayuman
A three-day international conference was organized by the Center for Research in Energy Systems and Technologies of the University of San Carlos (USC-CREST) together with a sustainable energy research group of the University of Southampton from the United Kingdom and the Lux Illumina Verde Energy Solutions from Singapore with the title “SEECON 2018: Sustainable Energy Ecosystems International Conference 2018” last Oct. 24 to 26, 2018 at the Mediterranean Hall, Waterfront Hotel and Casino, Cebu City.
The event was the first Philippine International Microgrid Exhibition and Conference with a mission to enable stakeholders from the government, academe and social communities to gather and share their knowledge, expertise, issues, concerns and solutions regarding the goal to provide a sustainable energy for all.
On the first day of the conference, the keynote speaker, AbuBakr Bahaj, a professor from the University of Southampton, talked about the balance between energy access and equity. According to his presentation, there are around 1.2 billion people who have no access to electricity and most of these people are found in third-world countries such as those who belong in African and South Asian regions. He stressed that “access to reliable energy can transform lives” for it may create economic productivity and income generation, improve education and health provisions, and maintain the capacity of people to live their lives in comfort and ease.
Day two of the said conference started with a short remark by the Director of the Center for Research in Energy Systems and Technology, Dr. Luzviminda M. Bellotindos, saying: “I am honored that researchers from all around the globe came to share their thoughts for us today. I’m surprised that even jet lag is not an issue. Well, researchers, let’s have another productive day today.”
Keynote speaker, Peter Lilienthal, the CEO of Homer Energy, discussed about the history of Microgrids and how they were developed; how their company is aiming to create “Smart, Clean Microgrids” that are capable of operating on their own; erecting their vision of a distributed future where the sun shines everywhere, the Microgrids supplying quality power, learning about their different applications, building capacities and a future where the whole community engages in the practice of developing new technologies to support the industry.
Dr. Sarma Vangala, the CEO of Metastrategy, Inc., Canada, also talked about the ways of achieving a sustainable energy system, where he showed a clip regarding Ruwanda, a place in Africa, where the people made solar panels, planning to produce 1,000 kilowatts by 2022.
Catterpillar Hybrid Energy Solutions also talked about the integration of Renewable Energy, incorporating the “Command, Control, Communication, and Integrated Regulation” protocol in gathering and categorizing energy into their prime uses.
The head of the Office of Renewable Energy Development under the National Electrification Administration, Engineer Ernesto O. Silvano, Jr. discussed the main initiative that our administration is taking right now, which is to reach a 100 percent electrification by the year 2022 in the Philippines against the Dec. 21, 2017 statistics stating that 20.936 million households have electricity out of 23.716 million.
On the third day of the conference, Senator and Chair of Senate Committee of Energy, Honorable Sherwin T. Gatchalian, delivered a keynote address about energy access in the Philippines and how the government is attempting to install electricity to 2.279 million households that do not have such access. This includes a series of government policies like the Nationwide Intensification of Household (NIHE) Scheme, Sitio Electrification Program (SEP) and theBarangay Line Enhancement Program.
With their goal to raise awareness about our renewable energies, the organizers of the conference dub it successful and hope to host more of these conferences in the future.