From Off-Grid to Offshore

Have mixed feelings about my future, but for the month of November 2019, I will try to be positive and slowly post my renewable energy journey or more like an Energy Transition journey from off-grid to offshore in preparation for 2020.

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Starting with an off-grid Solar PV installation at  TESDA. Please acknowledge that the picture originally came from me.  At this point, there is so much uncertainty about the future but several things are certain about Solar Energy.  The cost of solar has been reduced significantly that an installation can provide adequate returns in 5 to 7 years. Now its worth it, plus add an ultra-efficient cooling system running on natural refrigerants, then you can easily achieve net zero carbon emissions.

Frustrations? Yes, several, have had a long list of things that are extremely frustrating about this since I started blogging in 2009. The list even persists longer prior to that. Some have nothing to do with the slow uptake of renewable energy technologies.  Others have something to do with being in the wrong place and at the wrong time. Loving what I do, though not loving where I’m at. Looking forward to what I will post at the end of the month…when I reach offshore!

Consciously Coming to Copenhagen

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I told myself that if I won the raffle for Wind Europe 2019 I’ll come to Copenhagen and just spend part of my holiday trip there.

As of 31 October 2019, I won.  Wow, already booked my flight to Copenhagen via SAS on the 26th from Paris, will be a bit late, though. I will also be late on the 25th since I just flew in from Taipei on that morning.

I had to make major itinerary changes.  Luckily, it was also Paris Climate Finance Week and I have to attend to two (2) events on the 25th and the 29th.  However, this is part of my birthday week and celebration weekend. Crazy mix of business and pleasure. I am now only left with visiting Paris with just 2.5 days from November 30 and December 1. Will be flying back on December 2.  Huh! Maybe I should not come to the Climate Finance Day Event and just spend the day sightseeing. 

After the Air Conditioning Transition proposal for the NAMA Facility I feel  a strong urge to make changes, to work on renewable energy and more work on the energy transition or as the Germans say Energiewende and of course on climate finance.  I have no background on finance per se but I do have a strong background on GHG verification and ensuring the integrity of a ton of CO2eq mitigated.

Been listening to K-pop lately (long shot…), the last time I went to South Korea was on April 2014 for Myda’s birthday and as a side trip, I went to Songdo in Incheon to look for employment opportunities in the Green Climate Fund or GCF.  I never really fully understood the purpose of the GCF until I worked for GIZ which has been very keen on getting a GCF project.  The process was extremely similar to the call for proposals of the NAMA Facility funded by the German Environment Ministry and the British Ministry of Trade.  I am not sure if I had written about it in detail but we did participate on the 6th Call of the NAMA Facility which was an intense whirlwind I had this year.

It was crazy,  beating deadlines and soliciting commitments from our project partners. I don’t know if we could make it again, it takes a lot of integrity on our part, to prove ourselves beyond our idealistic principles of natural refrigerants in terms of coefficient of performance, safety and of course conformity assessment to international standards.  Sometimes though I feel like I don’t belong to this global program.  I love what I do but somebody at the North Sea seemed to be calling me. OK let’s go to Copenhagen, just try. We’ll see.

 

 

Big Brands, Big Data

Working on a sectoral  Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory on a national scale is extremely frustrating. Transparency remains the biggest issue. There are so many private sector data that are accurate and complete but is not reflected because of barriers set by these big corporations.

How come I’m not working on my career path as a GHG Auditor? Because…the issue is complicated. After taking my oath to maintain Independence, Ethical conduct, Fair presentation and Due professional care… I’m not really working on it because there is no demand.

 

Energy efficiency is deeply personal

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A year since I wrote something here. Just finished supporting a Level 2 ASHRAE energy audit for a really big hospital, the one where I was born.  I didn’t expect how much enmeshed I have been in cooling and energy efficiency for the past three years since I was assigned the C4 project. Maybe Mr. Hicks was right, I’m quite passionate about this.

It has been 19 years since I first set foot in the AIM basement as an innocent fresh graduate during the transition from the CFC-11 phaseout to HCFC-123  in the early 2000s. Encountering the words ducting, compressors, chilled water, air handling units, fan coil units and of course refrigerants. I was just tasked to document the process into a procedure as part of the ISO 14001 management system but never did I foresee that one day, I can explain, support and justify the process to ASHRAE auditors on how the system works and how it can be further improved… even suggesting for district cooling as an ultimate solution…but don’t get your hopes high, they may only recommend unitary splits. Hydrocarbons?

Why did I get here? Was it fate or was it the deep rooted pain brought about by my distorted life of male dominance and misogyny.  I never really talked about it, but maybe I still have not settled, cried and move on. I still can’t use the word “forgave”. It is still haunting me. It has been 19 years since the electrical pilferage incident, I felt it was the ultimate betrayal, may be its child abuse, electricity is no simple matter but you need to deal with it in the utmost integrity.

I have not forgiven anyone, because no one realized it was extremely painful and hurtful. I have hated myself in the process and immersed myself in learning how it works and why not knowing can make you extremely selfish and corrupt. And I hate the fact that I was born into it and I had no choice. I firmly believe I don’t belong where my personal life is settled. No one can choose your parents, your siblings and not loving yourself enough can lead you to choose the wrong people in your life.

Not knowing and not loving your building can lead you to choosing the wrong air conditioners and just waste up energy in the process.  Its ironic how people condemning coal fire powered plants are not really looking at the demand side of how much people waste or even steal electricity just to waste it.  I still have not moved, I may need counseling.

 

Being able to look at the right direction

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Photo from the UNFCCC website in 2015 when Christiana Figueres visited TESDA to look at the liter of light lamp post.  This building is where I usually get my PHP 25.00 cafe latte in the TESDA Women’s Center

Good leadership requires setting the right direction for everyone in the organization, but what if the direction everyone is aiming  for is not really the right place to look at.  The results can be disastrous.

Currently stuck in my house due to heavy rains, can’t go to the bank, missed my doctors appointment since my physician also could not come to the clinic, yes, climate change can disrupt personal errands and completion of simple things, specially if you are in a climate vulnerable location.

It took a while before I recognized the blaring difference between energy efficiency and power supply. Power supply is a policy decision while energy efficiency is a personal decision.  I am trying to figure out how to change my blog categories making renewable energy and biofuels a subset of energy and energy efficiency and fuel efficiency as another subsets.  I have been working lately more on the energy sector as a golden pot of opportunities in the energy sector, everyone in climate policy is looking at renewable energy but greater potential is in energy efficiency.

Things like off-grid and grid integrated  concepts of energy supply makes much difference. It is a human right to see light in a dark night, to be more economically productive, for kids to study, to finish task and a house needs lighting. If that light takes its power from the grid, it contributes to carbon emissions because each watt of power used up some form of fossil fuel in the energy mix but if that light gets its power from a renewable source, a solar panel, wind turbine or microhydro run of the river or even a biogas generator, its basically zero emission. As long as we get something from the grid, we contribute to carbon emissions, but we have to acknowledge the fact that we need power to run things.

In doing development work, it is much more fulfilling to work on off-grid renewable energy than to grid-integrated renewable energy.  Because grid-integration is riddled with politics and stakeholder interests. Thankfully, I’m not working on it.

Energy efficiency is a lot more personal, you go home and you turn the lights on, if its hot you turn-on the air conditioner and turn it off when its cold. Every month you get your electric bill, you monitor and verify if what you did, like buy a more efficient refrigerator or LED TV has an impact to your electric bill, and your so happy it does.  A monthly reduction of a couple of thousand peso is worth the 15,000 peso Ref or 20,000 peso TV you bought last Christmas with your bonus. Maybe next year, high efficient air conditioner, who knows, there is such a thing as perfect karmic timing.

The tide is high and low

There is so much work needed to get an offshore wind turbine up and running, though I am not advertising Siemens, which by the way is already merged with Gamesa…  Right now, working on climate change policy have some aspects on renewable energy, but I haven’t really had any specific job or task related to […]