Tag Archives: energy

Its not always what it CEMS.

20170308_075211What could be the objective of this coal-fired power plant for publishing its weekly air emission data in a nationally circulated newspaper? I find it quite strange and they even have to put it on the front page which calls for much public attention.  Given the nice green graphics, of course they do want to gain positive feedback about their emissions profile.

However, being the outlier in the population, with training and education on these matters, the first reaction from me is of course….”greenwashing”. In the first place, there is nothing exemplary or extraordinary about these air emission data.  It is very likely that the other coal fired power plants within the vicinity such as the ones in Zambales or Pangasinan have the same emissions profile and they also monitor their emissions daily through an integrated measurement and monitoring device known as the Continuous Emission Monitoring System or CEMS.

The CEMS is a mandatory legal requirement as specified in the rules and regulations under Republic Act 8749 or the Clean Air Act of the Philippines. How come the Bataan plant has to publish an inforgraphic about its own emission? How come the other coal fired power plants don’t?  Maybe the other coal fired power plants are not insecure or they don’t have the public relations team that were previously employed in a beer company.

After the Clean Air Act was enacted more than 17 years ago, thermal power plants have come a long way. I have seen the CEMS profile of natural gas plants and its way better than these figures. Prior to the entry of coal, almost two thirds of the power supplied in the Luzon Grid was natural gas, but with the trend towards coal plants that are “cheap and dirty “to operate.

Remember in school when we would show our fingernails to the teachers to check whether the fingernails are clean and trimmed? To a certain degree, showing your emissions data is just like showing the tips of your fingers. You could not see how clean and efficient your entire body is by the tips of your fingers.

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Filed under Corporate Social Responsibility, Environmental Audit, Environmental Impact Assessment, Environmental Management System, Greenwash, Pollution Control, Sustainability

The picture on my blog banner was the biggest “F” of them all

Have you ever wondered where the picture from my banner post was taken? It was taken at the NGCP Substation inside in the Kalayaan Power Plant complex in Laguna, Philippines sometime February or March of 2011.

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It was my first foray to be part of a CDM Validation team as an observer, technically no, since I got my Lead GHG Verification course in September 2011.  I was just the “dakilang alalay”  or slave of Adarne Crispo, carrying with me our personal protective equipment or just proof reading the CDM Validation report to be submitted to the UNFCCC CDM Registry.

My mentor-mentee relationship with Mr. Crispo is somewhat complicated, because I am not sure what is the concrete outcome. I have no idea what competence I have gained in the complicated field of CDM Validation/Verification or even GHG Verification of Corporate GHG Inventories.  Nothing moved forward, as if somebody is stopping my growth on purpose, even my Lead Auditor qualification in ISO 14001 was shelved for three years, even my qualification in GLAD was purposely not updated.  Anyway there is Karma, if my designated operational entity does not want me in their roster,  I can always move forward with confidence, and I have. Though things seemed like I have thrown it on the back burner, that is still my ultimate career goal.

The CDM registry is already closed for emission reduction projects, people are now talking about Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action, Intended Nationally Determined Contributions  and after COP 21 comes the Nationally Determined Contributions. Everyone’s anticipating the ratification of the Paris Agreements, but the Philippines seems lukewarm about it. The concept may not be fully understood by the current leadership, maybe our DENR Secretary can show some good animated materials for the president’s appreciation.   I am very happy now at this point in time working to support some of these efforts.

The Validation  of the CDM project on SF6 Emission Reduction in High Voltage Transmission will always be my first and somehow last CDM Validation project.  I was working at the back-office technically supporting Mr. Crispo, though we would hate each other every now and then, I never really took it personally, unless of course he did. Working on the validation project gave me a strong technical foundation on the nature of SF6, as the most potent greenhouse gas considered by the IPCC.  It is relatively easy to monitor and measure since its emission calculation methodology is mass balance.  Uncertainty is somewhat low, based on the API 2009 GHG compendium. Being in the validation/verification component  of the project, the focus was strengthening the quality of data on SF6 use and looking more into the maintenance processes of High Voltage Electrical Systems.

I was able to use that knowledge in auditing Geothermal, Natural Gas and Coal Fired power plants on their quality and environmental management systems. I have realized that its high GWP was not always considered environmentally significant, due to absence of a local regulatory framework. However, its significance in terms of cost is always highlighted.  A cylinder can cost around PHP 300,000 to PHP 500,000 in the Philippines, the add-on in terms of shipment cost due its nature as a Dangerous Cargo in the EU. Maybe the Paris Agreements can change this in the long run.  Not to lower cost but to force users to conserve a valuable and at the same time, a dangerous resource.

SF6 was not included in the national GHG inventory of the Philippines.  It is not a halocarbon, it is an F-Gas but the Second National Communication at base year 2000 have not considered it even if it is grouped together with HFC and PFC. Some people would call me crazy for my high regard of this F-Gas. Even now working on HFCs and PFCs, I never fail to mention SF6 as the most potent F-Gas of it all. Without a proper inventory, no one will really kow how much we really use this stuff and how much the Philippines is currently emitting GHGs from SF6.

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October 9, 2016 · 4:32 am

Remote Locations

Spent four days in a remote location. I was trying to practice night photography during one of those free times at night.  Power plants have to be in remote locations which is the norm but no one can stop population growth and urbanization that one day, remote locations are no longer remote anymore. We may have to move these power generating facilities offshore.  If we come to think of it, maybe the aggregate impact of population growth and uncontrolled urbanization without adequate land use planning may emit more greenhouse gas than a thermal power plant, just may be, but without the proper inventory we really could not tell.

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October 6, 2013 · 12:29 pm

The Pig is Getting Big

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I guess this opensource pig was the source of that pig  which won the logo design contest when I was still spending my time with the Philippine Methane Initiative. I haven’t had any connection with my former colleagues but one thing’s for sure, pig waste and manure management have always had a big potential towards emission reduction projects that can be sold in the carbon markets.

For this year, I have experienced very minimal opportunities of dipping into the carbon markets, though I have planned a great snow dive a few years back, there just seems to be no big ocean to dive on. It forces me to become cautious because I might get injured if I dived into shallow waters, especially if that guy on that cubicle is making the pool  more crowded. No bones being broken please! I do miss emission reduction project developments. Though my prior experience was limited to capacity building on making technical people understand what the carbon markets was all about, it was one heck of a great fun! I really do miss this pig quite a while.

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Filed under Biodiversity, Climate Change, Corporate Social Responsibility, Ecotourism, Environmental Impact Assessment, Fast Food Greenwash, GHG Mitigation Effort, Renewable Energy and Biofuels, Sustainability

Shallow thoughts and strong principles

During my early years in implementing EMS, most people in the organization have started out programmes such as making a song about the environment, poster making contests or tree-hugging events in lieu of tree plantings. In a less mature organization, these programs are acceptable, since environmental performance targets are still in the baseline data gathering stage, but if such programs still exists after 10 years yet building system chillers are rotting away eating up so much energy during normal operational conditions, then the organization has remained in a position of shallow thoughts rather than of strong principles.

The way people have thought about me have also ranged from shallow thoughts to strong principles, I know some people have a tendency to assume and judge, maximizing their inductive reasoning or people I have known for years putting me in a pedestal.  Maybe now, I had hoped to have people around to share the same principles of having developed specific performance targets and long term continual improvement goals and could at least do away with poster-making, songwriting or tree-hugging for the sake of greenwashing.

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Filed under Corporate Social Responsibility, Environmental Audit, Environmental Impact Assessment, Environmental Management System, Greenwash, Sustainability

What to do during Earth Hour

What to do during Earth Hour

Playing with LED lights during Earth Hour 2013. What can we do with one hour without energy? I took the extra step to turning of my  entire electrical circuit break, not limiting to lights…totally no power!

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Filed under Climate Change, Corporate Social Responsibility, Greenwash, Renewable Energy and Biofuels, Sustainability

Feeling Electric

I have to admit, I am paranoid about electrical consumption. I have had a very bad experience in the past and someone knowing me personally could understand this mindset of how valuable electricity is to me. The problem however is that none in my family share this same passion about becoming  energy efficient and saving on power cost as if electricity is as free flowing as water…well that’s another problem!

News came out that there will be an increase in power rates in Metro Manila, people could not understand why electricity is so expensive, it is dictated by the market and the infrastructure available.  The market is forcing us to become energy efficient and that does not give us the right to pilfer electricity. This mindset is an economic failure, everyone around me wants to pilfer energy and I have realized how easy it is to do something like that after having the electrical wiring at home fixed. Any electrician can do it.

Honestly, it is very difficult to produce energy. A number of EDC personnel are currently perishing in Kananga, Leyte due to landslides in the geothermal field. I have  been to Kananga and have also seen natural gas, coal, bunker and hydroelectric plants and everything is complicated and difficult.

Leaving that charger in the electric outlet did blew my fuse!

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Filed under Biodiversity, Climate Change, Corporate Social Responsibility, Sustainability