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Blowing in the wind

Ruffy Magbanua

The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind..

THE task at hand appears to be a tall order for this young start-up power company engaged in the manufacture of highly affordable small wind turbines for residential, commercial, agricultural and rural electrification.

But nope. With a “green heart and soul,” Avant Garde Innovations, led by its founder and CEO Arun George, is hell bent on providing 100-percent clean and affordable energy to over a billion people globally who are currently underserved and most importantly, unpowered.

Arun George, a young Indian entrepreneur, believes his company can collectively contribute for a cleaner environment, new economic prosperity and social change globally.

Their product?  Low cost small wind turbine for residential  and commercial use. And for the cost of an iPhone, one can now buy their wind turbine that can power an entire house for a lifetime.

The size of a ceiling fan, this wind turbine can generate 5 kwh/kw per day with just a one-time cost of P37,000.  Its market launch is set this third quarter of 2017.

Their goal? Eliminate energy poverty, reduce dependence on struggling state power grids and create energy self-sufficiency  through distributed, localized and affordable renewable energy worldwide.

Avant Garde Innovations launched its pilot project in a small town in India early this year and found out that their small wind turbine is highly scalable for power capacities of up to 300 kw or even higher.

For a minimum usage, a household requires 3 kw of power per day while an industry needs at least 1 mw a day.

Initially,  Arun George’s start-up company has already won a spot in the top 20 clean tech innovations in India and made to the list of 10 clean energy companies for the UN Sustainable Energy for All Initiative.

As a local campaigner for clean and affordable renewable energy, I buy Arun George’s innovative idea because it augurs well for easy access to modern power technology through investments in clean energy  by  adopting successful models for rural electrification.

At this juncture, how does our country fare in terms of developing wind power as alternative source of energy?

With its favorable geographical location for harnessing wind as source of electricity, the Philippines has reportedly overtaken all other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in terms of installed wind energy capacity.

The country now has an operational wind energy capacity of 400 mw, more than anything other country in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations region.

It plans to increase the installed wind energy capacity to 1,600 mw over the next two to three years. The country has significant wind energy resources spread across various islands.

So far, the government has identified at least 44 potential sites for setting up wind turbines, which together can support 1,168 mw of wind energy capacity.

But these juicy plans remain in the pipeline.

What this country needs is the kind of Arun George who puts his heart into innovations that could revolutionize in  delivering  cost-effective renewable energy to the average citizen.

As the country grapples with frequent power outages and a growing demand for energy, the government  admits the answer to the country’s power needs may lie in alternative sources.

Currently, three million households lack access to electricity in this country of more than 100 million people.

Some provinces only have electricity for several hours each day, while countless households on the country’s more remote islands still rely on diesel-powered generators.

Supply can barely cope with the increasing demand, which is projected to grow by four percent in the next three to five years.

In light of this, the government is ramping up renewable energy initiatives. But it continues to embark on projects for coal-fired power plants, even while claiming renewable energy is a priority.

Despite the passage of the Renewable Energy Law in 2008, the government has been approving coal-fired power plants left and right, further stalling the development and mainstreaming of renewable energy systems in the country.

The Renewable Energy Law intends to facilitate implementation of renewable energy projects. It encourages the establishment of various incentives and supportive schemes in order to stimulate investments in renewable energies.

But that is rhetoric per se because, in addition to ten existing coal-fired power plants, there are 23 others in the works, at least three of which are located in the middle of urban communities.

Once operational, these plants will edge out any potential for renewable energy and further lock the country into use of dirty energy for the next three to four decades.

Another challenge to achieving renewable energy potential is the high cost of providing energy to 7,107 scattered islands.

Planning is crucial, since wind farms need to be built in places where the wind is strongest, often far from urban areas.

Wind power, anyone?

E-mail: ruffy44_ph2000@yahoo.com

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TREND MAKER. Mindanao Gold Star Daily was established in 1989 to set ablaze a new meaning & flame to the local newspaper business. Throughout the years it continued its focus and interest in the rural areas & pioneered the growth of countryside journalism.

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