After many years without electricity, some 590 residences were lit up in time for Christmas as the Pilipinas Shell Foundation Inc. (PSFI) officially launched the Micro Grid project under Access to Energy (A2E) in Sitio Binaluan, a social investment initiative of Shell under its “Sustain, Invest, Nurture Access to Green Energy” or SINAG, that aims to provide green energy to some of the remotest communities in the country.
The launch last 16 November was highlighted by the lighting of a giant Christmas tree. A party followed where 200 kids received toys and gifts from PSFI and Shell officials.
Marvi Trudeau, PFSI program manager, told the Daily Tribune that it is a meaningful event for Binaluan to finally feel what Christmas is all about, and having a giant tree powered by solar energy is one way to do that.
Lilia Molato, a 66-year-old resident, shared that their holiday seasons in the past were not merry and bright as they only had gas lamps to light their houses.
Binaluan is an island sitio under Brgy. Liminangcong of the municipality of Taytay in the northern part of Palawan. It is the home of the Malampaya Deep Water Gas-to-Power project, an initiative by the Malampaya Consortium of which Shell Philippines Exploration B.V (SPEX) is a member.
A2E projects, which started in July 2014, are given to places that are not part of an energy grid. The micro grid power installed and built in Binaluan and other communities use a combination of solar, hydro wind and diesel generators to ensure energy supply. In Palawan alone, A2E has five projects including Sitio Kalakwasan, Tanabag in Puerto Princesa City, Decabaitot in Linapacan, Baras and Sitio Ligad in El Nido.
“Shell is doing this to help Palaweños who are deprived of electricity,” Antero Rebueno, A2E project manager, said.
The PSFI also opened the SINAG Kiosk in Sitio Lagpan, New Ibajay in El Nido on 15 November.
It is the first solar kiosk in the country with a water chlorination system. It will provide not only access to energy, but clean, potable water to Lagpan, which is the home of indigenous Tagbanua tribes.
The A2E project also helps turn the community into a cooperative, giving residents trainings for capacity building on how to keep the micro grid house sustainable.
At present, five A2E projects in Palawan connected 337 houses to a micro grid, while 370 houses were set up with individual home systems, for a total of 707 electrified houses that 3,316 people are now able to enjoy for a brighter Christmas this year and the years to come.
Photos by Team JAMP Palawan