By JUNE S. BLANCO
POOLED outputs of small power plants in Bohol can add up to more locally generated electricity.
Rep. Erico Aristotle Aumentado (Bohol, 2nd District) said the province’s size and sources of energy that can be developed into power plants limit production to only around 10 megawatts each – just little more than the production of existing mini hydroelectric plants in Ewon in Sevilla, Hanopol in Balilihan and Tontonan, Loboc.
But he still welcomes developers planning to invest in power plants in Bohol using renewable sources as these do not adversely affect the prime economic drivers of the province – agriculture and tourism.
Aumentado if Bohol’s leaders can convince and bring in interested parties to establish power plants here, be they another hydroelectric, biomass, waste-to-power, solar or nuclear, adding all their outputs can up the locally generated power to boost the power reserve.
“Only in power production is redundancy allowed – even required,” the solon stressed.
To allay people’s fears of a repeat of the Chernobyl, Russia and Fukushima, Japan nuclear plant accidents and disasters, however, Aumentado, together with Zamboanga del Norte 1st District Rep. Seth Frederick Jalosjos, filed House Bill 3651 seeking to create a nuclear energy regulatory body.
The solon is currently in Vienna, Austria, on a scientific visit to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) at the Vienna International Center. The attendees will attend briefings and participate in discussions on key aspects of comprehensive nuclear laws.
These include the establishment of an independent regulatory body, nuclear safety and security requirements, safety of nuclear installations, radioactive waste and spent fuel management, safe guard and civil liability for nuclear damage, as well as the related international legal instruments, particularly in the context of developing an adequate legal framework to support a nuclear power program in the Philippines.
He said this will prepare the Philippines should investors opt to develop nuclear energy.
He has also talked with an investor keen on producing energy from waste – including plastics – as well as biomass, to meet the power demands of Bohol’s 2nd District.
He said the former will cut government spending for the establishment of sanitary landfills. Funds saved from this, he said, can then go to infrastructure and even social projects instead.
The solon expressed confidence that the mix of sources now and soon to be available will ultimately meet the growing power demands of the entire district – and even the province – without depending too much on the geothermal power plant in Tongonan, Leyte.
An added advantage of biomass, he explained, is the residuals in the conversion of biomass into power can be utilized as fertilizer – organic at that.
The move, Aumentado said, will put his district one step closer to his aspiration of making it Bohol’s first “green”, that is, environmentally sound, district.
The waste and the biomass will separately undergo both aerobic and anaerobic procedures, he said.
The investor, he said, will visit Bohol anytime soon to determine the volume of waste and biomass that the district can produce to feed the waste conversion and the biomass power plants to produce from one to two megawatts of energy. He echoed the investor as saying that “the more waste, the more there will be energy”.
He also said for more biomass, the investor is likewise keen on tapping his constituents to plant feed stocks on public lands.
The leaves will be for food for ruminant animals while the waste – parts of the plant that the animals find “not tasty” and will not eat will be fed to the biomass power plant.