The Batak Tribe in Kalakwasa, Palawan Islands now have access to electricity through Pilipinas Shell Foundation’s Access to Energy Pilot Project.
The Palawan islands is located near the Malampaya Deepwater gas-to-power project, which provides to about 20% of the country’s energy needs. However, Kalakwasa remains to be one of the off-grid communities that have no access to energy.
There are about 200 people in the community that rely on almaciga, rattan and honeybee as their source of income. At night, their only source of light is burning a wood sap wrapped in leaves that only give an hour’s worth of light.
“In one night, because of the lack of light source, sometimes we make only two small baskets,” Teodorico Villanueva, a resident of Kalakwasa said in Filipino.
In 2016, Shell Philippines Exploration and the Pilipinas Shell Foundation went to the remote village to install a hybrid power system using solar and hydro energy.
Access to Energy technical consultant Silver Navarro said that a survey was done to understand the energy needs of the community, as well as available resources in Kalakwasa.
“[There was a survey to understand] what technology can be adapted and what operating management can be used to operate and manage the [unclear],” Navarro added.
“We saw their need of electricity because the school children, they couldn’t really study at night,” Access to Energy Project officer Yoyon Rebueno said.
The project took two months to establish, with 20 people working to construct and install the hydro, solar, and back-up diesel generators.
“What we’ll do is to create a small canal to divert the water, then drive the turbine and produce electricity,” Navarro said.
The project has generated around 3 kilowatts of energy enough to the light the whole community.
“Now that we have electricity, she now earns almost Php 200 in one night.” Villanueva said.
*Watch the Access to Energy Pilot project video here.