Almost dead PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 21 February 2016 14:36

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

Rincon, CA. — Our politicians should take a closer look at these twin powerful sentiments: the future of our dwindling water supply amid probably the worst drought Zamboanga is experiencing and the need for efficient and sufficient power supply that guarantees ZERO BLACKOUT for the next 25 years and beyond.    Our leaders, down to two recognizable and respectable ones, shouldn’t be fighting over these two issues, but must weld their brains and feelings together to avert a crisis of untold consequences. They must protect a city already facing all sorts of insecurities.

While Davao city is experiencing rotational blackouts, we have been liberated from this hot rod because of the current power Alsons Power Group is generating through two of its plants — Mapalad Power and Western Mindanao Power Corp. In the distant future, other power companies may join in to provide the final blow to finish off this monster we call BLACKOUT.

The other day, my friend who topped the bar examinations at the height of the Beatles mania, Attorney Vic R. Solis, emailed me the following:

“Your column title (Dying coop, Feb. 17) is right on target. That’s why I’m battling for a three-pronged approach aimed to stop its (Zamcelco) skid toward La Merced (funeral homes). But we’ve got to do it quickly, otherwise, the ‘dying’ might end up dead!

“My impression of the present coop is that it’s just, as the expression goes, ‘getting by’. But it can’t go on like this. It can’t continue to operate with a P1B-plus debt around its neck, a system loss of over 20 percent and without the capex (capital expense?) required to update and upgrade its distribution grid. It’s got to have a management team bearing not only expertise, but also a lot of money to be infused into the coop as risk capital.

“This is where the investment management contract comes in and becomes a critical component in getting back the coop from the ICU (intensive care unit) to the recovery room and, thence, up and running.”

HELP! was one of my favorite Beatles songs. Vic’s was “Yesterday”.

If plans do not miscarry, hiring of an independent management group to temporarily run Zamcelco to make sure that it won’t go down like the Titanic will commence in the second quarter of this year. When that happens, the San Ramon Power Inc. will begin to construct its baseload power plant within the perimeter of the  Zamboecozone. Barring hitches, the plant will be operational by 2019 and will be provide all of Zamboanga’s electricity needs. SOLO ABRASANDO CON TODO!

For the skeptics and cynics opposed to coal, the World Coal Association has published a concept paper on the global Platform for Accelerating Coal Efficiency (PACE). The vision of PACE is for countries choosing to use coal, the most efficient power plant technology possible is deployed. The overriding objective would be to raise the global average efficiency of coal-fired power plants to minimize CO2 emissions which will otherwise be emitted while maintaining legitimate economic development and poverty alleviation efforts.

I cannot pretend to be an expert in power generation. Engineer Ben Conti, who spent his golden years with the power sector, both private and public (that’s where he started losing his top because of “aboridoness”), will explain to you in layman’s lingo what coal-fired power plants desire to achieve in reducing CO2 emissions at a global level.

I can only relay what little I know about coal power in the United States, which accounts for 39 percent of electricity production as of 2014. Coal supplied 16.5 quadrillion of energy to electric power plants in 2013 which made up nearly 92% of coal’s contribution to energy supply.

It is said that coal plays an important role in power generation worldwide. Coal-fired power plants currently fuel 41% of global electricity and, according to available data, in some countries, coal fuels higher percentage of electricity.

And now, water.

You can’t seed the clouds to induce rain unless it’s cumulus clouds. Years go, when Atty. Vit Agan was mayor and Mrs. Maria Clara L. Lobregat was our lone representative in congress, we had cloud-seeding operations. They, with the help of experts and the Philippine Air Force, succeeded to make rain, not enough, but good enough, to sprinkle the dry, cracking agricultural soil and provide little water for drinking, bathing and what it is you do after downing Nescafé to go with your Champions or Marlboros.

That was the first real warning of climate change. Now, we are really in trouble, drought-wise, and this won’t be the last hot dry spell we will have. If  the weather patterns don’t change, we die.

Fortunately, the Zamboanga City Water District (ZCWD) has four major projects with private companies that include capturing of water from rain or El Niño typhoons. That will allow the ZCWD’s pumping stations to operate for longer periods. I wonder if it is possible for the water firm to apportion funds for an expensive process of desalination, recycling and storage of water. The amount of money to be appropriated is staggering, but is absolutely rewarding in the long run.

In the meantime, the ZCWD should not plan a specific operational mandate because of the abrupt, unforeseen environmental consequences. (I leave it to Mr. Edgar Banos to explain my last sentence.)