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Innovative agro-energy project eyed in M’lang


By Ali G. Macabalang


M’lang, North Cotabato – The Philippine National Oil Company-Renewable Corporation (PNOC-RC) is eyeing to pilot an integrated project aimed at yielding electricity and vegetables that can help meet deficiencies in power and tomato supplies in the country.

A four-member team led by PNOC-RC Executive Vice President Pedro L. Lite Jr. met with Agriculture Secretary Manny F. Piñol here last Friday, and discussed the proposal to install, in a 10-hectare lot here, elevated solar panels with greenhouses built-in underneath for modern tomato growing.

The integrated energy generation and tomato production project is first of its kind in the country, applying a modern French technology that has been effectively operating for months now in a foreign community, Piñol told The Manila Bulletin.

While current solar panels in the country do not have spaces underneath, the proposed project will build high-leveled panels to accommodate greenhouses for agricultural farming such as tomato-growing to be bankrolled from existing P8-billion PNOC-RC fund for renewable energies, he said.

The proposed pilot project can generate at least five megawatts daily and substantial tomato supplies per harvest, the two officials said.

The 10-hectare proposed project pilot site will be located along the national highway of Barangay Nueva Vida here with a live creek and an electric transition line needed in the operation and maintenance of the integrated venture, according to Lite.

Lite and Piñol were optimistic that the proceeds of the integrated project will help address emergency deficiency in the country, particularly in North Cotabato, and reduce the dependence in the sardine-canning industry on tomato importation.

Lite said he will prepare next week the necessary memorandum of understanding on the proposed project for signing with land owner Pat Piñol, a retired police colonel and elder brother of the agriculture chief.

If proven feasible, Piñol said, the project will be replicated in the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi where substantial energy supply has been a problem for decades.

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