Why microrenewables?

by Roberto Verzola By microrenewables, we mean small-scale renewables, whose outputs are at kilowatt instead of megawatt levels. These include solar PV systems on home and building rooftops, microhydro facilities, small wind turbines, small biogas digesters, and other micro-systems. As a rough guide, we can use the government limit of 100 kilowatts and below. The term derives from “microcomputers”, “microprocessors”, and “microcontrollers”. These represent the “micro” paradigm in the information industries, which overthrew the older “mainframe” paradigm that used to dominate the computer industry. The mainframe paradigm involved going after economies of scale in size by building larger and more powerful computers and super-computers. The idea was to make computing cheaper and more affordable through such economies of scale. We call this the giantist mindset. It turned out that the micro paradigm could attain better economies of scale than the mainframe paradigm. Computers became smaller instead of bigger, until these were so small that they could be put on a single microchip. Thus, a different economy of scale took over—the economies of scale in quantity or volume. Made in the millions, microprocessors and microcontrollers had become so cheap that they became universal building blocks of industries [...]

May 23, 2022|Categories: Blog|

Why LED lighting makes sense

by Roberto Verzola Shifting to energy-efficient LED lighting is a good example of an energy efficiency measure and makes eminent sense, as the following calculations will show. Consider installing a 15-watt LED lamp for 250 pesos, to replace a 40-watt fluorescent lamp. The more efficient LED lamp provides the same amount of illumination. Now, every time [...]

May 23, 2022|Categories: Blog|

The CREST microhydro agenda

by Roberto Verzola The Center for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technology (CREST) is hard at work on its microhydro agenda. It is partnering with Galing Pook awardee, the LGU of San Luis, Aurora, and other local governments on trials to bring down the capital expenses for microhydro installations below the capex of mini- and mega-hydroelectric projects. [...]

May 23, 2022|Categories: Blog|

Micro vs mainframe

by Roberto Verzola The micro/mainframe terminology is derived from the early debate in the computing industry between IBM Corp. and Intel Corp. IBM was the pioneer and leader in the computer industry of the 1960s, and faced only a few small competitors. The industry players were often described as “Snow White and the seven dwarfs”. IBM’s [...]

May 23, 2022|Categories: Blog|

It is expensive to have no electricity

by Roberto Verzola Those who do not have access to electricity use candles or kerosene lamps at night. We will compare the cost of these lighting technologies to the cost of electric lighting. Assume that a candle as well as a kerosene lamp provide as much illumination as a 3-watt lamp. One candle might cost five [...]

May 23, 2022|Categories: Blog|

Exempt small-scale renewables from the bureaucratic mazes of electric utilities, city halls and the Energy Regulatory Commission

by Roberto Verzola Today, basically the same set of rules apply to small-scale renewable projects below 100 kW as well as to 100 MW projects. This is a huge disincentive for small-scale RE. The experience of the Romblon Electric Cooperative (Romelco) is a case in point. Their 20-kW hybrid facility in Cobrador Island, which involves a mixture [...]

May 23, 2022|Categories: Blog|