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Feb 03rd
Home Sections Ecology and the Environment Sorsogon Bay Can Deliver Energy Independence from NAPOCOR But SORECO and Sorsogon’s Water Districts Have to Be “Reinvented” First
Sorsogon Bay Can Deliver Energy Independence from NAPOCOR But SORECO and Sorsogon’s Water Districts Have to Be “Reinvented” First PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Ecology and the Environment
Written by Bobby M. Reyes   
Friday, 11 November 2011 12:47



The Sorsogon Electric Co-op (SORECO) and Waterworks Districts, If Restructured, Can Build Necessary Infrastructures to Meet Energy Requirement of the Province, Sell Ample Excess Electricity to NAPOCOR and Provide Unlimited Irrigation and Potable Water


Part XIV of a Series on “Saving Our Sorsogon (SOS) Bay


By Lolo Bobby M. Reyes of Sorsogon City and West Covina, California


Some Sorsoganons crack jokes that the correct pronunciation of SORECO is ‘Sorry Ako’ (I’m sorry) and say that their Waterworks offices are ‘Water Worse’ Districts


O ne of the primary reasons of doing the “Save Our Sorsogon (SOS) Bay” Initiative is that the Sorsogon Bay (SorBay) and its 34 river tributaries can actually deliver energy independence from the National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR) that supplies both SORECO I and II of electricity from its Luzon Grid. And eliminate brownouts. The “SOS Bay” idea can provide at the same time unlimited water for irrigation and drinking even on hot summer days. How?


The answer to obtaining energy independence and unlimited water came as a vision in 1959 when my father, Dominador, brought me to the residence of my baptismal godmother, Mrs. Choleng Arnedo. My father was then running as the official Liberal Party candidate for governor and Ninang Choleng’s husband, Ninong Cadio Arnedo, was my father’s running mate. Mr. Arnedo, if elected as the vice governor, was to succeed my father after two terms, per their gentlemen’s agreement. My father actually belonged to the Nacionalista Party but he was eased out as its official candidate by Malacañang Palace in the previous election in 1955, as narrated in this article, Why Select Magallanes Town as the Site of a World-class Movie Studio with a Revived Shipyard for Making Galleon Replicas and Sailboats?


The Arnedo residence was in Barrio Milagrosa of Castilla town. Ninong Cadio constructed a paddlewheel-type of generating electricity at a stream that meandered in his property. It was producing enough electricity to provide light to the residence and power a refrigerator. Even then as a 13-year-old high-school freshman, I was brainstorming how Ninong Cadio’s paddlewheel could be the model for thousands of copycats that could provide electricity and provide tap water, aside from irrigating farm lands, especially rice fields.


Editor’s Note: The author tells of his visionary trait in 1958,

the year before the November 1959 elections, in this article:

 Becoming Sorsogon’s Visionary Beginning in Sixth Grade


But my idea of persuading my father and my godfather to embark on a province-wide construction of paddlewheel-powered generators and irrigation ditches came to a halt when their slate lost to then Gov. Juan G. Frivaldo, who won his reelection bid, as the candidate of then-President Carlos P. Garcia of the Nacionalista Party.


As stated in Part I of this series, my friends and I resubmitted the same plan to then gubernatorial candidate Juan G. Frivaldo in 1987 (28 years later). And as a remarkable coincidence, Mr. Frivaldo’s running mate was Cleto Arnedo (Ninong Cadio’s son) and both won their seats in that election. The new provincial government did not even acknowledge receipt of the plan, as submitted. Readers may access the article about the 1987 elections in this link: The “Save Our Sorsogon (SOS) Bay” Initiative


Reviving the Paddlewheel-powered Energy-Irrigation Vision


As short- to medium-term solutions for the energy requirements of Sorsogon Province, both SORECO entities – if run as real cooperatives – can operate with Tree-farming Co-ops (TFC) mini-hydro plants (MHP) and smaller paddle-powered generators. SorBay has 34 river tributaries plus more-than two dozens more rivers in of the provinces’ other 10 towns. And the added benefit of harnessing the rivers is that Sorsoganons have to make massive reforestation efforts to make sure that their watershed areas are permanently Green, which of course will help in fighting Global Warming (Climate Change).


Fifty-two years after the Arnedo Couple built their paddlewheel-powered generating system, science has advanced so much. Nowadays, paddlewheels can supply modest power through small but efficient impulse turbines. The proposed system can at the same time generate the necessary electricity to operate pumps to channel the water to the irrigation canals or an aqueduct.


In 1987, some of Sorsogon’s civil-and-electrical engineers told this writer that between seven to eight MHP could supply the entire electrical requirements of the province. Assuming that the province has grown to about double in population in the past 24 years, still only a maximum of 16 MHP would be needed. Sorsogon can operate some 58 MHP and sell the excess electricity to the NAPOCOR. Now add the countless smaller impulse turbines dotting the countryside, especially along the proposed Sorsogon Aqueduct (patterned after the California Aqueduct), then more-than enough electricity can be generated to guarantee the elimination of brownouts and generate income by selling the excess power to the NAPOCOR. Sorsogon Province does not need to build huge geothermal or coal-fired power plants to achieve energy independence.


Suggested “Reinvention” of SORECO and the Water Districts


1.0             The first suggested step is to merge SORECO I and II and the Water Districts and run the merged “Water and Power Company” (W&PC) as privately-owned (by the member-consumers) and managed as a “real cooperative”.


1.1             This means that provincial and Local Government Unit officials will lose their control of the electric co-op (that is presently not operated as a true cooperative) and the Water Districts. After all, the idea is to really privatize both entities and merge them into one efficient public-benefit foundation (co-op).


1.2             The W&PC may also tap the other rivers in province, aside from the 34 tributaries of SorBay. For instance, the Ariman and Aropag Rivers in Gubat town can provide enough electricity and water to satisfy the needs of the local population. The Bulusan River can also more-than provide the local electrical needs of the town. Even the Masacrot Spring (in Bulusan) and the San Benon Hot Springs (In Irosin town) can have the paddlewheel-powered generating impulse turbines and feed its excess water into the proposed province-wide Sorsogon Aqueduct.


2.0             The various LGU city or municipal councils and the Provincial Board of Sorsogon can and must pass a local version of the “Wild and Scenic Rivers Act” of the United States that then-President Lyndon B. Johnson signed in 1968. The act provided “narrow buffer zones” in rivers that protected them from huge dams and development. Almost all of Sorsogon rivers are “wild and/or scenic,” and hence there is a need to protect them from exploitation, especially by the conglomerates in The Imperial Manila.


2.1             The same act can also declare Sorsogon as the country’s first “Organic Province” and prohibit the use of chemical fertilizer, toxic chemical-laced pesticides, herbicides, insecticides and other poisonous agricultural ingredients.


2.2             The “Wild and Scenic Rivers Act” can also ban completely mining in any form and/or geothermal or coal-fired power plants in the province that may harm any of the provincial rivers, streams or brooks, lake or body of water, including coastal and blue waters.


3.0             The W&PC can embark also in the construction of a tidal-powered generating stations  at the mouth of SorBay, solar-powered generating plants and windmill farms in ideal locations plus of course bio-mass-powered generating centers. This will be aside from installing solar panels in the roofs of all houses, churches, buildings and other edifices in the province. With affordable and dependable electric service, the whole province -- and in fact, the entire Bicol Region, if not the entire Island of Luzon -- can have freight and commuter trains, buses and other vehicles -- all powered by electricity. We have to build of course pilot projects in Sorsogon Province first. Companies and manufacturing concerns can have the cheapest electricity (from Green sources) in the ASEAN, if not in the whole of Asia.


4.0             The idea of building a province-wide canal patterned after the California Aqueduct will make sense, as studies have shown that the flow of fresh water from the Mississippi River has harmed oyster beds in the Gulf Coast. It may be to the advantage of fishermen and their fishing co-ops to divert all the water of SorBay’s river tributaries to the proposed Sorsogon Aqueduct, instead of emptying into the bay or in the case of the other coastal towns of their rivers emptying into the Pacific Ocean or China Sea.


5.0             The W&PC can also operate sewage treatment plants that will treat waste water – from (organic) fertilizer runoffs to toilet/bathroom used water – so that the cleaned water can be recycled to water lawns, golf courses and even reforestation sites.


6.0             Finally, the W&PC can provide its co-op member consumers with the so-called "Information Grid" that will run along its "Electric Grid," namely Internet, Pay-TV channel or cable system and telephone (both landline and cellular) connections – all on state-of-the-art fiber-optic lines and generate more income for its co-op members.


7.0             All of the above-proposed business activities and services will be subject of course to the completion of environment-impact reports and feasibility studies – with all the projects being treated like items in a conveyor belt of an imaginary assembly line. The projects will have to be broken down into short-, medium- and long-term undertakings and like items in the said conveyor belt, even a long-term task can be accelerated to become a medium- or even a short-term goal, if the business climate and right resources are in place.

8.00     If and when we succeed in achieving energy independence -- in less than two decades -- while at the same time making Sorsogon the greenest province in the Philippines, if not in Asia, the SORECO can offer to duplicate what it has done in the Third World. The SORECO can contract to export its technology and build power plants, rail systems and other infrastructures -- all on turn-key basis -- as may be financed by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the United States and other multilateral agencies.


It is now up to the people of Sorsogon, and in particular, the members of SORECO I and II and the customers of the various Water Districts to evaluate the VISION presented in this article (and series). It is up to the people to generate the right political will to implement them if they vote for any or all of the suggested activities in a series of referendums. # # #


Editor’s Notes: Here are links to the previous articles in this series:


The “Save Our Sorsogon (SOS) Bay” Initiative (Part I)




Sorsogon Bay: “So Near, Yet So FBAR.” The “Red Tide” Ban by the BFAR Must Be Lifted  (Part II)




“Back to BacMan,” Tracing to the Geothermal Plant an Apparent Cause of Pollution in Sorsogon Bay (Part III)




Ultimatum Given to BacMan Geothermal Plant to Treat Waste Water Before Emptying It into a Sorsogon-Bay Tributary (Part IV)




Sorsoganons Got Guts and Know How to Face Death Honorably (Part V)




More On the “Save Our Sorsogon (SOS) Bay” Advocacy: “Arin si Brockovich?” (Part VI)




Sorsogon Public Officials Don’t Know How to Google for Geothermal Energy’s Environmental Issues (Part VII)




Sorsogon Must Go for the Jugular Against the EDC, the Lopez Conglomerate and the PNOC, Et Al, for the Ecological Rape of Sorsogon Bay  (Part VIII)




How Baby Boomers and their Children Can “Save” the World by Protecting Ecosystems in their Original Hometowns (Part IX)




“Save Our Sorsogon (SOS) Bay” Campaign Endorsed to Department of Tourism as the EDC Contacts Bobby Reyes  (Part X)




Bacon-Manito Geothermal Project EIA 1985  (Part XI)




Lolo Bobby Reyes Writes a “Love Letter” to the ABS-CBN Foundation’s Gina Lopez About the “Save Our Sorsogon (SOS) Bay” Advocacy (Part XII)




EDC Replies Through ABS-CBN Foundation’s Gina Lopez (Part XIII)




(To be continued …)

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 March 2014 19:37
Comments (1)
As posted in the "Philippine Railways" Facebook Group by Bobby M. Reyes:

@ Graham John Corry You are right that we cannot compare prices because we can eventually sell electricity at half the So. CA Edison (SCE) rates. How? Our labor cost is way below those of SCE employees & execs, tens of thousands of whom earn more-than $100-K per year plus bonuses & perks. If SORECO -- under my visionary leadership & plans -- will pay many employees at a minimum of $1,000 (PHp43,000) per month, they will work so hard, esp. with a good pension plan & health-insurance (HMO) benefits. The employees that I will lead will fight tooth & nail for the system that our Think Tank will install, manage & improve.

From Bobby M. Reyes: (Con't.) We don't need to import coal or diesel fuel because we will use hundreds of mini-hydros & thousands of micro-hydro (paddle-wheels connected to impulse turbines), tidal-power stations plus back-up sources like solar, wind farms & bio-mass powered generating centers. Eventually, Sorsogon Province can supply the entire island of Luzon & we can knock down power rates that the electric wholesalers of The Imperial Manila would belly-up & sell to us all their power plants. I just need five to seven years (2016 to 2023) to do it all.

Bobby M. Reyes (Con't.) By 2023 or earlier, we will be able to accomplish my vision of having electric-powered rail system (freight & commuter trains) with power grids installed along (& often underneath & adjacent to the rail tracks) -- in the Western & Eastern sides of Luzon. All that we need to start the process is to get an overwhelming mandate in May 2016 from our people (just approximately 120,000 to 200,000 votes -- out of 300,000 or so voters). My people have been suffering under Sorsogon's Political Herods for the past 68 years or so. If I can explain my vision in nearly all the barrios & town centers, Sorsogon will see the biggest mandate ever given to a candidate. Suffering people will grab at a viable plan that they can see being done even before the election.

Bobby M. Reyes (Con't.) Here's the master plan that I published on 11-11-2011 about securing "energy independence" for Sorsogon Province: No Sorsoganon politician (even those who are supposed to be national leaders) ever proposed even a fourth of what I have envisioned. Probably they have not even dreamed what I have proposed. Altho it is easier said than done, many engineers have said most of the plans are very-much doable.

Sorsogon Bay Can Deliver Energy Independence from NAPOCOR But SORECO and Sorsogon’s Water...
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