By: Andrea Eloise Rentuza, Grade 8
People nowadays want to live an easy life. Fossil fuels are one of the things that contribute to making lives easier, considering that these give people the energy needed for everyday use. These make daily life easier, yet ironically, these are slowly killing the world. Directly stopping the usage of these fossil fuels cannot be tolerated, however, it is possible to lessen its use. Fossil fuels include coal, petroleum and natural gas. These are formed by dead, decayed plants and animals over millions of years ago. These impact people’s lives greatly especially in the residential, commercial, and industrial aspects of living and working. The over-extraction of fossil fuels is slowly depleting the earth of its natural resources, which brings a shift to alternative sources of energy. Alternative energy encompasses all those things that do not consume fossil fuels. They are widely available and environment-friendly. They cause little or almost no pollution. Alternative sources of energy include: wind energy, hydroelectric energy, nuclear energy, solar energy, etc. These may aid in conserving fossil fuels and in securing the environment.
All alternative sources have impacts on the environment and its people. Alternative sources of energy bring forth more possibilities than fossil fuels, most of which could help the environment and its people. Solar power uses the sun’s energy and converts it. Geothermal energy uses the heat of the Earth, specifically underground. Hydroelectric energy uses the energy from running water, like waterfalls and rivers. These do not deplete the natural resources nor damage the environment.
By far, the largest energy source is the sun. According to Bent Sorensen (2015), solar power is one of the most important renewable energy technologies that could be of great importance for planning a transition to renewable energy. There are two types of solar energy: direct and indirect. Technical systems using direct solar energy convert solar radiation into electricity or heat—energy that is used by people every day. Meanwhile, indirect forms of solar energy refer to natural factors such as wind, river water and plant growth.
Every country has the potential to generate energy from natural resources. The Philippines, in particular, is an archipelago directly above the equator—the region where the sun’s rays are the strongest and hottest, a perfect example for solar energy. This country has been generating energy from renewable resources for a long time. Thanks to its strategic location, there have been an increased number of consumers incorporating the use of solar panels in the Philippines.
In another part of Southeast Asia, a neighboring country of the Philippines is Cambodia. Like many other countries in the world, this country has its own set of renewable energies. The Philippines and Cambodia are worth comparing, both being in Southeast Asia and have more or less the same resources and climate, etc.
According to Poch, Kongchheng (2013), the diversification of power sources is a critical issue for Cambodia for expanding the rate of electrification and increasing the electricity supply. Instability and inefficiency continue to be concerns for power distribution. These two factors create difficulties for households and businesses in addition to expensive electricity bills. However, Cambodia is also blessed with an abundance of natural resources, which makes renewable energy a solution to power development. One of their new projects include—according to a solar panel supplier, JinkoSolar Holding Co Ltd—a solar power plant which is under construction in Kampong Speu province. It will start installing 200,000 solar modules in January 2019 and begin operating later in the year.
In the Philippines, after the Renewable Energy Law was approved in 2008, a surge in renewable energy capacity addition was seen in the country. The country’s latest project is a 150-megawatt solar PV project which began in Concepcion last 2017. According to Leandro Leviste, Solar Philippines president and chief executive, this will be the first solar power project in Philippines which will be built at a cost lower than that of a coal-based power plant.
The researcher recommends that the Philippines take advantage of its strategic position on the globe. It is an archipelago right above the equator. The equator is the region where the sun’s rays are the strongest—Filipinos can utilize this advantage by converting it into solar energy. As for Cambodia, the researcher recommends that the country continues its goal to achieve more electricity access for its population. Both countries must ensure that they take hold of reliable and affordable electricity supply and distribution.