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Do-nothings in Edsa

We agree with new traffic czar Secretary Rene Almendras that there should be better integration between the different agencies that have been tasked to solve the traffic mess in Metro Manila, starting with the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue or Edsa where several choke points make life miserable for commuters and motorists day in and day out—well, almost.

It’s early days yet to see if this latest experiment to deploy the Highway Patrol Group will work and decongest Edsa, but motorists have reported the worsening of traffic in certain areas like C5-Libis as well as the areas along P. Tuazon and Bonny Serrano/Santolan where vehicles were crawling slower than a snail’s pace. We got a feedback from one of our stoolies who passed by B. Serrano (Santolan) going to Edsa and he reported seeing a dozen men and women in what looked like MMDA uniforms who were sitting under the shade provided by the Edsa flyover—at around 9 a.m., doing nothing while everything was going helter-skelter both northbound and southbound, with vehicles from the Santolan-Edsa junction taking almost half an hour just to cross over towards Crame. 

A couple of these traffic personnel had pen and paper and it looked like they were doodling. But let’s cut them a little slack and give them the benefit of the doubt—they were probably making “assessments” on how the HPG was managing the traffic situation. But did they all have to cluster under the shade of the flyover? Had they bothered to get their assess up to see why the gridlock was happening, they would have seen that a primary cause were the cars coming from the APFSLAI gate at Camp Aguinaldo who were making a U-turn going towards Edsa, or heading to the 15th Avenue area to Cubao. As a result, traffic is affected as far as Blueridge all the way to Riverbanks, Marcos Highway and most probably even C5-Libis. Once our stoolie got past Camp Crame, traffic became more manageable from Ortigas to Shaw Boulevard and Guadalupe, and there was only one HPG guy at the foot of the Ortigas flyover who was directing the flow of vehicles. 

ABB to deliver 200 MW solar order to PH

According to the Department of Energy’s Supply-Demand Outlook, the demand for electricity is projected to increase by 22 percent at 15,228 MW by 2020, (from the current 12,433 MW demand), which makes solar power an attractive option because of the short construction timeline. Solar can play an important role in helping alleviate power supply shortages especially during daytime when demand is at its peak. This situation has prompted the DOE to raise the installation cap for solar technology to 500 MW by 2016.

Leading power and automation technology group ABB has won an order from Solar Philippines to provide complete electrical balance of plant (eBoP) solutions to three solar power plants in key provinces in the Philippines. According to ABB, the company will be responsible for the supply, testing, and commissioning of photovoltaic (PV) power plants in Batangas, Misamis Oriental and Tarlac, which will result in a collective output of 200 MW. Once operational, the Batangas and Tarlac plants will be two of the largest solar farms in the Philippines, while the Misamis Oriental plant will help address the long-term electricity shortage in the Mindanao region.

“ABB technologies are playing a key role in the fast growing solar landscape of the Philippines, facilitating both the generation and integration of renewable energies into its power grids,” said John Fyfe, country managing director of ABB in the Philippines. “Our in-depth knowledge of renewable power generation technologies, together with our experience with grid codes and utility practices used around the world, enables us to provide complete solar PV solutions that are efficient, reliable and clean to people, and truly decouple economic growth from environmental impact in this fast-growing economy,” he added.

Construction is now underway for all three plants that are expected to be fully operational in early 2016. “Solar is becoming increasingly competitive with fossil fuel, enabling it to supply a growing share of our country’s energy needs,” said Solar Philippines president Leandro Leviste, adding that the projects mark a turning point for the solar industry in the Philippines. The partnership with ABB will turn the projects into reality considering the latter’s advanced technology and expertise, Leviste also noted. 

ABB is known as a provider of the most comprehensive portfolio of products, systems, solutions and services along the solar PV value chain that enable the generation, transmission and distribution of solar power for grid-connected and microgrid applications. Just recently, ABB also won a $20 million contract from the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority to expand the 200 MW substation at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum solar park. 

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