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

windeurope-copenhagen-2019

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.

 

 

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 […]

The complicated world of technology transfer for climate change

Its been seven years already since I came across my first technology transfer project on climate change mitigation.  Anaerobic biodigesters at that time, was seen as a major force in methane capture and waste to energy as part of the Clean Development Mechanism or CDM.  The Philippines was seen as having a very large potential due to the widespread practice of microscale pig farmers which is embedded in our Filipino culture. Also, the concept and projects have taken off in Thailand and had been earning enough from emission trading schemes.

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So what happened after seven years? Not much really but of course there was the camaraderie developed among the trainers and project implementers.  Though the funding from the US EPA has somewhat died down.

When a technology is transferred, how do you sustain it? How do you localize it, how do you make it a point everyone will work on it with a common goal in mind?

A Reaction to Gina Lopez’ DENR Appointment

vampira-me-laffIt has been quite a while since I have written a post,  and Gina Lopez in the news have resurrected my ecoblogging from the grave. My last post  in 2012 was about my encounter with her in DAP in 2010.

The worst that you could tell me at this point in my life is that you see me as the future Gina Lopez, DENR Secretary.  I believe I have good scientific training and technical experience in environmental management. Being a media hype is not something I would dream about. I do want a certain degree of concrete expertise.

The appointment of Gina Lopez, is something I do frown about. The second one I frowned at after Mark Villar for DPWH. These are the cases that seem muddy rather than concrete. But the established safeguards in government systems will hopefully deliver regardless of leadership. I wish them the best, but I don’t like them. Some things will be difficult, but we can always wait for the next administration to patch things up.

Gina Lopez has always been a pet peeve for me.  Maybe its the energy she exudes when I met her. Why did I end up in that meeting anyway? Was it her seemingly lack of regard for Filipino Scientists?  Her know-it-all naivete with excerpts of arrogance?  Her “alalays” Diosa and Eugene…Oh gosh, the seemingly staged entrance to the meeting, the bohemian outfit or the fact that she kind of looks like my old boss, who was deeply insecure of me. Red flags here and there, naive comments on ecology and sustainability showing limited technical knowledge….blah blah blah.

Have I really come a long way? I have nothing to do with the DENR or LLDA at the moment. As much as possible I do not want to involve myself in shallow environmentalism and media propaganda.  I do want to exude technical expertise in the most modest, humble and  academically appropriate manner.  Being recognized as a media hype, will not be me because I don’t have  and will never have that advantage.

I do believe that Climate Change is the most critical environmental issue in the Philippines. Though our focus is Adapting to the Change, mitigation should also be focused at.  I believe I can contribute my training, experience and expertise on this area and I need to learn more.

I guess my issue with Gina Lopez is that people around me compare me to her, which to me is NOT a good thing. I have nothing against her, but her ways and means are not something I want to emulate. Gina Lopez is an environmentalist, I am not like that, and I am  doing my best to break away from that perceived mold.

MOLDS and LEED…S not the wine type

Mold infestations have been bothering me. In 2008, I worked in the 7th floor of a High Rise building. I was always sick, I can smell the sour stench from the carpeting, when Test America came, they could sense a degree of Sick Building Syndrome on the lower floors given the lack of ventilation among that levels. Should we get used to it or spend efforts on eliminating it?

Green buildings are not only limited to energy and resource efficiency but  also the health and wellness of the people using it. Molds are just one aspect, emissions of volatile organic compounds, thermal comfort, adequate acoustics, illumination and overall indoor quality is essential and as a requirement periodically tested. 

Sometimes that’s the irony of it all, such concepts are popular but are not fully implemented and lacks adequacy of implementation. How can I work efficiently and effectively if I don’t have a workplace at all and I have to utilize my creativity to improvise? 

In the Philippines, there are only two (2) USGBC certified buildings. I guess, there is the Philippine Green Building Council and they have more certified buildings. There is a premium on this building, but who gives a damn about this?