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Davao City – Forming part of its power development agenda of promoting renewable energy in Mindanao, the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) partners with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to increase electricity access in the island of Tawi-tawi through RE technologies, in close coordination`the with local agencies and cooperatives.

In cooperation with the Tawi-Tawi Electric Cooperative (TAWELCO), Mindanao State University - Taw-Tawi College of Technology and Oceanography, Provincial Government of Tawi-Tawi, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resource – ARMM, and the Association of Isolated Electric Cooperatives (AIEC), the project will focus on RE hybridization in the seaweed farming municipalities of Sitangkai, Sibutu, Panglima Sugala, and Tandubas.

The project likewise supports the existing plans of the local government and BFAR-ARMM to increase the production and value of seaweeds by making electricity service more accessible and affordable. 

“We constantly report about Mindanao currently having supply excess, but this is not necessarily true in our island provinces, including Tawi-tawi with household electrification rates of less than 30 percent,” said MinDA Secretary Datu Abul Khayr Alonto, adding that the also project supports the agency’s efforts to effect 100 percent household electrification in Mindanao by 2030.

MinDA, as head convenor of the Mindanao Power Monitoring Committee is set to oversee the implementation of the project, in coordination with its local partners in the government, private sector, and electric cooperatives.  

Alonto also added that these rural electrification efforts are crucial in preparing the province of Tawi-Tawi for the proposed Integrated Seaport and Ecozone.

The MinDA-UNIDO partnership is among the awarded rural electrification projects funded under the European Union (EU) Delegation to the Philippines' Access to Sustainable Energy Program (ASEP), launched here this week. Five out of the seven awarded projects on pro-poor, and climate-resilient innovative energy solutions are from Mindanao.

According the project presentation of UNIDO, Tawi-Tawi is the largest producer of seaweeds in ARMM but ranks only sixth in terms of value. The bulk of seaweeds production comes from the island municipalities of Sitangkai, Panglima Sugala, Tandubas, and Sibutu, that are each served by National Power Corporation – Small Power Utilities Group (NPC-SPUG) diesel generator units.

“Hybridization with renewable energy and storage system improves reliability and resilience while lowering consumption of diesel, electricity rate, and thus reliance on national subsidies,” said Tonilyn Lim, UNIDO Philippines Country Representative during the launching.

Lim added that  energy component of the action will also be integrated with the plans and programs of the local government to deliver community social and welfare services, thus improving the quality of life in the seaweed farming communities.

UNIDO is the specialized agency of the United Nations that promotes industrial development for poverty reduction, inclusive growth and environmental sustainability. The project will be implemented from 2019-2021.  TAWELCO will eventually own and operate the RE-hybrid systems in fulfilment of its mandated obligation to provide total electrification of its franchise area.

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