At De La Salle University, research and development of appropriate turbine and controllers had been initiated and still continuing at present. We have installed one 7.5 KVA and one 20 KVA micro-hydro electric power plant in two barangays in Malibcong, Abra, and three more barangays are scheduled to be electrified this year. At present, the following R&D activities are being pursued at the College of Engineering:
To complement the R & D activities, laboratory test facilities for micro-hydro turbines and controllers should be upgraded. Although the existing hydraulic laboratory facilities at De La Salle University can be considered as one of the best in the country today, additional equipment and state of the art measuring equipment are needed for more accurate test results. This is needed in the optimization of turbines and in the design of controllers. This will help establish the minimum standard of turbine efficiencies for micro-hydro applications Other academic institutions could share our facilities to test their own design.
A key element in the sustainability of the project will be the availability of trained manufacturers in the region with MHP potentials who could supply and installed the required equipment. If the turbine is manufactured in Manila, repair and maintenance of the unit will be a problem. In addition, it will entail additional expenses such as delivery and cost of supervision of the company technicians which could be a substantial portion of the total cost. One component in the proposal is to train capable and interested local manufacturers in the region or the provinces where there are potential customers. Blueprints of the turbines with the jigs and fixtures required shall be available at minimum cost. The construction of their first unit will be closely supervised upon request. In order to attain this objective, additional metal-working equipment will be purchased in addition to the existing facilities.
Aside from the training of local manufacturers, other types of training are also included in the proposal such as:
Training manuals will be prepared in English, Filipino, and other major dialects. The translation in other major dialects will be done in collaboration with selected academic institutions.
One of the recommended actions in the National Conference for Building a Common Agenda for Renewable Energy held in Tagaytay City last March 25-27,1998, is to strengthen the inter-agency coordination to avoid duplication of efforts. Networking among the stakeholders such as public and private academic institutions, PNOC, NEA, and NGOs like SIBAT and PRRM, will be actively pursued in coordination with the Department of Energy. Annual conference/workshop will be conducted.
One important component of any renewable energy project are demonstration units whereby interested parties could easily see not only the actual construction and operation but also its social and economic benefit to the community. One demonstration unit will be installed in Luzon and the Visayan Region. The training of the local government units will be held in the demonstration sites.