Renewable power projects for agriculture, fishery sectors eyed

The Department of Energy (DOE) and Department of Agriculture (DA) will pilot renewable energy (RE) projects in the agriculture and fishery sectors to promote the use of clean energy in boosting food security.

In a joint memorandum circular, the DOE and DA indicated their intention to jointly undertake pilot RE projects in strategic areas of the country.

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The pilot RE projects will be identified by the joint technical working group (JTWG) to be formed and co-chaired by the Bureau of Agricultural and Fisheries Engineering (BAFE) and the Renewable Energy Management Bureau (REMB).

Some pilot RE projects being looked at include the use of biomass gasifier for driving irrigation pump, small rice and corn mills, as well as for off-grid electrification in rice, corn and sugar cane farms; hydrous bioethanol fermentation and distillation facility for the production of fuel blend for farm machines and other purposes; demonstration model of a small biogas plant for heat and power applications as well as a facility for wastewater treatment and the use of dried sludge as bio-fertilizer and/or soil conditioner; and use of solar-powered system for crop irrigation, aquaponics and hydroponics as well as for poultry egg incubators and hatchers.

These projects will help jumpstart the Renewable Energy Program for the Agriculture and Fishery Sector (REPAFS), which will be formulated by the DA-BAFE.

Once implemented, the REPAFS will act as a blueprint in the effective and efficient integration of RE in the agriculture and fishery sectors for enhanced productivity, sustainability and environmental protection.

It will also become a component of the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Program (NREP), which sets targets on RE capacity additions, and of the DA’s Agricultural and Fishery Modernization and Industrial Plan and the National Agri-Fisheries Mechanization Plan.

The REPAFS aims to strengthen and expand the implementation of existing RE programs, projects, and technologies for the agri-fishery sector in all feasible sites all over the country.

These technologies include solar-powered irrigation systems (SPIS), biomass gasifiers, and small-scale geothermal energy to supply heat, mechanical and electrical power for farm machinery, post-harvest facilities, and greenhouses.

The REPAFS also targets to promote the use of RE, such as solar, wind, hydro, biomass, small-scale geothermal, and other farm-based energy resources for agriculture and fisheries to reduce the cost of production of agri-fishery products.

It also intends to develop new and emerging RE technologies for the agri-fishery sector in collaboration with research and development institutions, state colleges and universities and the private sector.

The joint memorandum circular formalizes the memorandum of agreement signed by the DOE and DA in August last year to undertake programs aimed at  boosting the country’s energy and food security.

“This is a win-win partnership for our energy and food industries. Energy is needed throughout the agrifood production process, and at the same time, the systems being used are also able to produce energy. It is up to us to optimize this synergy to benefit our people,” DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi said last year.

This article was originally published by PhilStar.

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