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Saturday, June 30, 2018

Arabs Shoot for Mars -- and the Stars


In case you missed it (and we’re sure a lot of people did), the race for Mars is being waged by that ageless United States space agency called NASA; that visionary “Martian” named Elon Musk and his “space taxi” company, SpaceX -- and the United Arab Emirates.

The United Arab Emirates?

Unknown to most of the world at large, the UAE is the only other country besides the United States with deep designs on landing humans on Mars, and the deep pockets to make its Martian ambitions a reality. Over the past two years, the cash-flush UAE has made its presence felt in a very big way in the very exclusive club of nine countries that have space programs aimed at sending satellites, surface probes or humans to Mars.

The UAE burst onto the world’s consciousness as a space power powered by money in July 2014 when it announced its other worldly goal of sending the first Arab spacecraft to another planet -- Mars -- in 2021.

The “Emirates Mars Mission Hope Journey” will launch a spacecraft named “Hope” towards Mars in July 2020. The spacecraft is scheduled to begin orbiting Mars in 2021, the 50th anniversary of the founding of the UAE on Dec. 2, 1971.

Hope will take 200 days to make the 60 million kilometer journey to the Red Planet. Once in orbit, Hope will study the atmosphere and climate of Mars, and will produce the first truly global picture of the Martian atmosphere, about which very little is known.

This compact, hexagonal-section spacecraft will carry three scientific instruments to attain these aims: the Emirates Exploration Imager for high-resolution images; the Emirates Mars InfraRed Spectrometer to study temperature, ice, water vapor and dust in the atmosphere and the Emirates Mars Ultraviolet Spectrometer to study the atmosphere and search for traces of oxygen and hydrogen in space.

The Mars mission will be an incredible gamble verging on the reckless for the UAE, which has no previous experience in deep space missions such as the one it plans for Mars.

The UAE, however, does have immense experience in building and running Earth orbiting satellites, of which it has four in orbit. It said its investments in space technologies exceed US$5.4 billion. But this huge sum went to communications satellites; mobile satellite communications and Earth mapping and observation.

Hope, which will be lofted on a NASA launch vehicle, will be run by the UAE Space Agency (UAESA).

The stunning declaration to send a research satellite to Mars was made by Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Emir of Dubai. Dubai is one of the seven emirates comprising the UAE, while Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid is also the Prime Minister of the UAE.

Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid said the Muslim Mars mission will prove the Arab world remains capable of delivering scientific contributions to humanity despite the many conflicts in the Middle East involving Muslims.

"Our region is a region of civilization," said Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid. "Our destiny is, once again, to explore, to create, to build and to civilize."

He said Dubai chose the immense challenge of reaching Mars because it inspires and motivates its citizens. It’s an outlook similar to that of the late U.S. President John F. Kennedy whose challenge in 1960 to the USA to land a man on the Moon before the end of the 1960s inspired the USA to achieve just that.

Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and Emir of Abu Dhabi, said the Mars mission "represents the Islamic world's entry into the era of space exploration."

Money for NASA
The UAE, which is a close ally of the U.S., has also kept the American space program alive with generous funding. In June 2016, the UAE agreed to fund a number of NASA space exploration projects, including NASA’s historic first manned landing on Mars of a multinational crew set for 2035.

The U.S. and the UAE announced an agreement that will allow them to collaborate on matters of space and aeronautics research. The deal includes voyages to Mars in support of the UAE's own Mars landing project and NASA's manned landing program.

NASA and UAESA formalized cooperation in the exploration of Mars by signing an implementing arrangement establishing a joint steering group to guide discussions about potential future projects that contribute to exploring Mars.

"NASA is leading an ambitious journey to Mars that includes partnerships with the private sector and many international partners," said former NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.

"I am confident this new framework agreement with the UAE Space Agency will help advance this journey, as well as other endeavors in the peaceful exploration of outer space."

NASA is concerned it won't have the money to support its future manned space programs and its financial woes are no secret. The Obama Administration's new federal budget submitted in February 2016 proposes to cut NASA's fiscal year 2017 Budget to $19 billion, or $300 million less than its current budget. This picture might not improve under the Trump administration.

The deepest budget cuts will hit NASA's deep space exploration programs, hence the importance of the new partnership with the UAE. Without sufficient and reliable funding for its space exploration programs, NASA fears America's leadership in space and space science will slide into irrevocable decline. The deal with the UAE could be a life saver for NASA.

There has been no word, however, on the amount of funding the UAE is prepared to commit in support of NASA's space exploration programs.

"The reason why cooperation and collaboration are important to the UAESA is because we believe that working alongside international partners is the best way to accelerate the development of space technologies and the space sector within the UAE," said UAESA Chairman Dr. Khalifa Al Romaithi.

"This agreement opens the door to the creation of a wide range of mutually beneficial programs and activities involving numerous organizations within the UAE and the USA."

City on Mars
But the UAE’s grandest dream for Mars is also the grandest dream to date put forward by any person or any nation.

The UAE plans on becoming the first country on Earth to build the first habitable city on Mars. It plans to do this by 2117.

This stunning announcement made in Dubai on Feb. 14 is by far the boldest plan yet for the human colonization of Mars, dwarfing anything Elon Musk or NASA have made public.

The UAE plans to build a Martian city housing thousands of colonists as part of its Mars 2117 Project, which will be implemented in collaboration with specialized international organizations and scientific institutes. The Mars 2117 Project was made public by Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid and Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed.

"The landing of people on other planets has been a longtime dream for humans. Our aim is that the UAE will spearhead international efforts to make this dream a reality," said Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid.

A virtual presentation depicting a preliminary concept for the City on Mars was made during the announcement in Dubai at a meeting of the UAE-sponsored World Government Summit in February.

The first human City on Mars will be built by robots, according to the concept put forward by an Emirati team of engineers and a group of scientists assisting them. Their presentation also revealed a concept for the expected lifestyle on Mars; modes of transport; methods for producing power and plans for growing food. It also focused on infrastructure building and revealed the materials the UAE plans to use for building the Earth’s first City on Mars.

UAE officials said the scientific initiatives for the 2117 Mars project will first be implemented by an Emirati scientific team. The project will eventually be expanded to include international scientists and researchers.

Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid said the UAE is among the nine most important countries in the world that invest in space science.

"Human ambitions have no limits, and whoever looks into the scientific breakthroughs in the current century believes that human abilities can realize the most important human dream," he noted. "The new project is a seed that we are planting today, and we expect the next generations to reap its fruits."
Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed explained that the short-term goal is to develop the capacities and skills of Emiratis.

"The 2117 Mars initiative is a long-term project, which will first help develop our education, universities and research centers that will empower young Emiratis to enter all disciplines of scientific research fields," he noted.
"The findings of the project will be available to all international research institutes."

He noted that research developed by the 2117 Mars initiative will contribute to aspects of transportation, energy and food to achieve scientific breakthroughs that also contribute to developing human life on Earth.

"The UAE has become part of dynamic human scientific efforts to explore space and making scientific contributions to human knowledge," said Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed.

"With the launch of this project, we begin a new journey that will last for decades to come, and it will speed up human endeavors to explore other planets."

Friday, April 6, 2018

The new normal: doing more with less through energy efficiency



(Published in the ECCP Business Review, July 2012)

LIKE A BEAM OF LED light reaching out farther as it becomes more powerful, the 3rd Philippine Energy Efficiency Forum (PEEF) this July ranged wider and partnered with more companies, financial institutions and government agencies to attain the common aim of institutionalizing the practice of energy efficiency.

Energy efficiency or using less energy remains the cheapest form of power available to business firms. It also serves as the foundation of a grand design crafted by the government and the private sector to increase the Philippines' use of renewable or sustainable energy as a hedge against future power crises.

The expanded breadth of today energy efficiency campaign was reflected in the theme of the 3rd PEEF: “Driving Efficiency and Competitiveness Across the Power Sector Value Chain.”

PEEF’s major goal over the past three years has been to promote the national effort towards energy supply security, increased competitiveness and low carbon economic growth through energy efficiency.

Unlike its predecessors, however, the 3rd PEEF focused on energy efficiency from the perspective of business firms (who are huge energy users) along the energy value chain, from generation through transmission and distribution to the plug. New to this year’s PEEF were the separate Technical Briefings where sponsors, energy technology companies and exhibitors presented their unique energy efficiency solutions. The new business matching sessions were a success, as was the widely visited product exhibition.

As noted by Hubert D'Aboville, outgoing President of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) in his welcoming remarks, the forum reaffirms that energy efficiency has the potential for ". . . huge savings in total power use and large reductions in greenhouse gas emissions."

"The return on investment from energy efficiency will benefit the whole country," he said.

He added that the private sector and the government are able to do more and operate more efficiently with limited resources through energy efficiency.

D'Aboville acknowledged the firms and institutions that have partnered with ECCP in promoting PEEF since the start of the chamber's energy efficiency campaign three years ago.

PEEF is the first forum in the Philippines that focuses exclusively on energy efficiency.  It supports the Energy Smart Program that aims to encourage the greater application of resources for energy efficiency among business enterprises and to maximize the full potential of energy efficiency for business.

The five Founding Sponsors are Philips Electronics & Lighting Inc., Philippines, First Gen Corporation, Meralco, Schneider Electric Philippines, Inc., and Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation.

The founding Energy Smart Program Partners are Paris Manila Technology Corporation; First Gen Corporation; Schneider Electric Philippines, Inc.; Philips Electronics & Lighting Inc., Philippines; Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation; Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel; Jardine Energy Control, Inc.; Royal Cargo Combined Logistics, Inc.; Theuer Eurolighting Consultancy Corporation and Maschinen & Technik, Inc.

“Energy efficiency is key to enhancing business competitiveness,” Schumacher pointed out during the 1st PEEF in 2010. That bold statement has been made all the more urgent by current realities that include steadily rising electricity prices and the unstable world economy.

To attain the goals of PEEF, companies must indeed “Think energy efficiency.”

D’Aboville made special mention of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) that hascooperated with ECCP on advancing energy efficiency in the Philippines from the beginning and is expected to continue working with ECCP (at least) until 2015.

Henry Schumacher, ECCP Executive Vice President, said the issues driving PEEF today remain similar to those when the first forum was held in 2010: expensive electricity; the threat of roving blackouts; the phasing out of power subsidies for PEZA locators in Luzon and how businesses can cut power costs.

"All these issues lead us to see the importance of energy efficiency," he pointed out. "Energy efficiency is as important today and tomorrow as it was yesterday."

Public sector leadership
Undersecretary Loreta Ayson of the Department of Energy(DoE), representing Energy Secretary Rene Almendras, had some good news – somewhat -- for price-battered consumers of Asia's most expensive electricity.

The proposed Energy Conservation Law long championed by the ECCP has been presented to Congress but returned to DoE for “some tweaking” since it was “too detailed.”Once the revised bill is submitted to both Houses of Congress, she expects the law to be enacted soon, but indicated no specific time frame. The law’s implementing rules and regulations have been completed.

The law, which was first proposed in 2005, promotes energy efficiency and energy conservation initiatives. DoE said the proposed regulatory framework for both energy efficiency and energy conservation will be the policy pathway for abating the Philippines’ emissions ofgreenhouse gas (GhG), a major cause of global warming.

The law’s energy efficiency measures help diminish the need for more and expensive power plants while also encouraging investors into developing renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, hydro and geothermal energy in return for a guaranteed Feed-in Tariff (FIT).

Ayson also said the very long-awaited FIT is close to implementation.

“The FIT rules are being refined to boost the development and production of renewable energy,” she said.

Two weeks after 3rd PEEF, the government issued the approved FIT tariffs, but at rates much lower than that needed by renewable energy developers.

The Energy Regulatory Commission approved these FITs: P9.68 per kilowatt hour for solar (lower than the P17.95 per kWh applied for); P8.53 per kWh for wind (from P10.37 per kWh) P6.63 per kWh for biomass (from P7.00 per kWh) and P5.90 per kWh for hydro (from P6.15 per kWh).

She pointed out that increasing the share of renewable energy in the country’s energy mix was one of the government’s three major initiatives in its energy strategy.

“If we have no access to sustainable energy, there is no economic development,” she said.

Sustainable energy will play a key role in the government’s plans to “electrify” 90% of Filipino households by 2017 and 100% of households by 2025.She made reference to the DOE’s SPUG program and added that the supply of energy to SPUG areas would eventually be privatized.

“Energy access is the foundation for addressing poverty alleviation,” she emphasized.

Energy management a must
They’re among the biggest users and wasters of electricity, and count among the top emitters of GhG. Paradoxically, these culprits are quite suitable targets for a proven energy efficiency solution: energy management. Buildings are both the bane and boon to energy efficiency efforts. 

Philippe Reveilhac, Country President of Schneider Electric Phils., Inc., noted that buildings occupy a fifth of the Earth’s surface but account for 80% of CO2 emissions. They are mostly inefficient users of electricity.

Reveilhac revealed that out of 100 units of power generated by fossil fuels, buildings only use 22% efficiently. The rest of the energy is wasted.

“This is the energy efficiency dilemma,” he said. “The solution is either to produce more electricity or consume less.”

Given the inefficiency of the power generation and distribution networks, the former option is unacceptable. For the latter to contribute meaningfully to energy efficiency, however, means that energy use has to be managed throughout the entire building.

Energy management solutions such as Schneider Electric’s “EcoStruxure” have proven capable of efficiently managing power and significantly cutting costs. He noted that Schneider Electric’s world headquarters in Paris, the first ISO50001 certified building in the world, has reduced its final energy consumption by a fourth by using EcoStruxure.

“EcoStruxure is a single backbone that controls and monitors energy use in a building, including renewable energy,” he said. “The basis of a successful energy efficiency program is to implement an energy management system.”

Implementing an energy management system such as EcoStruxure can significantly minimize a building’s operating costs, which account for some 75% of the life cycle cost of a building. It also does away with uncoordinated energy efficiency solutions thatare not as effective as a single solution.

He said energy management systems will also enable high performance green buildings and smart cities.

Turbines and LNG
Emmanuel Gesmundo, Vice President, Energy of Siemens, Inc., presented his company’s various turbine products as solutions for enhancing the efficiency of power plants.

He noted that four megatrends are shaping the future of the planet: urbanization, demographic change, climate change and globalization. Taken together, these megatrends are increasing the demands for energy that must be met by building more energy efficient power plants.

Among Siemens’ energy efficiency innovations for power plants are the H-class gas turbine, Direct Drive 6 MW, gas turbine upgrades and smart grids.

Edgar Chua, Country Chairman, Shell companies in the Philippines, argued we need all the energy we can get because of the booming world population (seven billion as of 2011) andrising affluence (more demand for computers, cars and household appliances).

These factors will contribute to energy demand doubling by 2050, but there will also be the seemingly impossible demand to halve CO2 levels at the same time.

Shell’s answer to this conundrum:  smarter energy and cleaner energy.

Shell is one of the world’s largest distributors of biofuels, which Shell sees as the most practical, commercial solution to reduce CO2 emissions over the next 20 years from road transport fuels. Chua said fuel efficiency is key to savings since fuel constitutes some 20% to 25% of operating costs for transport companies.

Shell is pushing liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a transportation fuel since this is cleaner energy and can provide energy security through flexibility and diversification.

“We power the country’s future,” Chua said in referring to Shell’s Malampaya Deepwater Gas-to-Power Project.

Malampaya, the Philippines’ first major domestic upstream hydrocarbon production project, meets up to 45% of Luzon’s power generation requirements or a total of 2,700 megawatts.

“Natural gas is the cleanest and most efficient fossil fuel with least amounts of CO2,” Chua noted.

Smart grids
The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) reported on major developments in the country’s power grid and on its initiatives to improve the efficiency of power transmission and distribution systems.

Redi Remoroza, Head, Luzon System Planning Division, said major developments in the Luzon Grid include a 230 kV backbone extension and line reinforcements in Northern Luzon for completion by 2015 and the installation by 2013of new transformers in the DasmariƱas and Tayabas 500/230 kV substations for increased reliability.

In the Visayas Grid, a major project is the Cebu-Negros-Panay 230 kV backbone development to accommodate bulk capacity additions in Panay. The project, however, is still subject to regulatory approval and will be implemented in stages involving initial energization to 138 kV.There are also line reinforcements in Cebu to exploit the full capacity of new coal-fired plants.

A primary project in the Mindanao Grid being studied is the interconnection with the Visayas Grid for power exchange. A feasibility study is ongoing and should be completed by March 2013.

Meralco’s efforts to improve energy efficiency on the customer side involve identifying opportunities to achieve this goal. Alfredo Panlilio, Senior Vice-President and Head, Customer Retail Services and Corporate Communications, said this includeswider adoption of the time-of-use method (particularly advantageous for business firms, manufacturing plants and BPO companies); the Smart Grid that improves a customer’s ability to manage his power consumption and “prepaid electricity,” which is similar in concept to prepaid phone cards.

“Good power quality equals higher energy efficiency,” said Panlilio.

Another of Meralco’s energy efficiency advocacies is encouraging the use of more electric vehicles by building charging stations, the first of which will become operational this year for electric tricycles.

Meralco’s continuing push for energy efficiency is also being driven by the massive size of its customer base: 5 million customers, half of which belong to the “C” market.

What Meralco has undertaken is a “. . . 360 degree turn in the use of energy efficiency and conservation. We have not only one but multiple solutions to the challenge of energy efficiency and these solutions are persistent, consistent and unwavering.”

Giving customers a choice
Iloilo Electric Cooprrative-1 (ILECO-1) supplies power to 109,000 in 15towns in Southern Iloilo. It is a consistent “Category A+” electric cooperative and was recently awarded the “Diamond Award” by the National Electrification Administration for its outstanding performance.

General Manager Wilfred Billenanoted that retail competition and open access once declared will bring the power of choice to consumers, moving from a sellers’ market to a buyers’ market.ILECO-1 has partnered with one of its electricity providers, Green Core Geothermal, Inc., to pass on to consumers the benefits resulting from the new buyer’s market.

“Competition at the wholesale level gives ILECO-l increased value,” said Billena.

He noted that competition began with the privatization of the power generation sector by EPIRA and is continuing with the entry of new technologies such as smart grid monitoring systems which will be implemented in 2013.

The pass on benefits to end consumers caused by competition include clean energy that is competitively priced, stable and VAT free. Prices will also be kept in check since ILECO-l has one of the lowest system loss figures in the Philippines.

Distributed generation
The rise of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind energy has given rise to distributed generation (DG), which, in turn, can also benefit from energy efficiency.

DG is a way to produce power with a small-scale generator on the customer’s site or at the site of a local distribution utility, and then supply power to the local distribution network directly.

Jessie Todoc, Program Manager, Energy Access & Alternative Energy of the International Copper Association-Southeast Asia, said the ICA seeks partnerships for clean energy programs.

It supports clean energy policies, standards, regulations; develops clean energy technologies and
Disseminates clean energy solutions.

Copper is a key contributor to sustainable energy and is a reference conductor, hence its importance to distributed generation or to other forms of electricity generation.

“Distributed generation is now driven by climate change and smart grids,” he said.

He pointed out that the benefits of distributed generation include cost reductions; reduction of losses in the distribution system; GHG emissions reductions and deferral of transmission and distribution systems upgrades.

There is, however, a need for an attractive pricing policy and interconnection policies and standards to realize these benefits.

Funding energy efficiency
Yes, there is funding available for companies that go for energy efficiency projects, and this thanks to the confidence shown in the Philippines by the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

Jesse Ang, Resident Representative, IFC Philippines, said IFC has financed energy efficiency and renewable energy projects here worth over P7 billion.

“There are several billion pesos worth of projects under preparation and this number is growing,” he said.

These projects range from small building retrofits (lighting + HVAC) to new green buildings and RE projects. IFC clients for its energy efficiency funds include commercial buildings, industrial facilities, ESCOs and captive and independent power/energy producers.

There is a considerable focus on financing on converting non-energy efficient buildings sincethey are enormous wasters of electricity. If faced with a choice between an energy efficiency retrofit with a short payback period or a long-term investment in a total energy efficiency solution, however, IFC recommends builders take the latter option.

Office buildings in the Philippines generally show a higher power consumption of up to 22 percent compared to similar countries because of insufficient energy efficiency installations.

“Ideally the best solution . . . is to make your building energy efficient from the very beginning,” Ang said. “In general, you should build buildings for energy efficiency.”

Ang sees huge local potential for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that can be financed through the bank’s Sustainable Energy Finance (SEF) portfolio.IFC has extended its network of partner banks providing financing to energy efficiency investors to include Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), BPI BanKo Savings Bank, Banco de Oro and China Banking Corporation.

Addressing climate change and environmental and social sustainability activities is one of IFC’s five strategic priorities for maximizing its sustainable development.

Another IFC manager, Noel Verdote, Operations Officer, Sustainable Energy Finance (SEF) Phils., Inc. said commercial buildings accounted for 29% of the 50.9GW of powerconsumed by the Philippines. Malls were the largest electricity users followed by hospitals, hotels and office buildings.

Verdote said malls and office buildings have highest potential for energy efficiency investment requirements, which is placed at some P9.8 billion.

The average potential savings are estimated at 20% and while the requirement per GWh to be saved on lighting retrofits, air conditioning upgrades, insulation improvements and better control systems comes to P15 million.

Energy efficiency opportunities in the commercial sector are estimated at 2,950 GWh/yr (out of the 14,746GWh) and the required minimum investment stands atP44 billion.

Industrial companies can save considerable sums from their energy efficiency projects by the simple expedient of using more energy efficient motors and drives.

William Beloe, Program Manager, China Energy Efficiency Finance Program for the IFC, compared energy efficiency in the Philippines, China and India.

He revealed that energy efficiency in Philippines is two times more efficient than China. Both the Philippines and India, however, rely heavily on energy imports for domestic energy use. The Philippines is four times more dependent on energy imports than China, while India three times more reliant than China.

A key factor that makes energy efficiency more urgent for the Philippines is that the Philippines in 2011 overtook Japan for the dubious honor of having the most expensive electricity in Asia.

Unfortunately for the Philippines, “. . . energy efficiency isn’t a sector. It’s a window on the market,” said Beloe.

This lower status might complicate efforts to give energy efficiency the prominence it deserves.

IFC, a subsidiary of the World Bank, is the only global multilateral institution focused exclusively on the private sector and bills itself as the global leader in private sector development finance. It provides equity, loans, guarantees and other investments.

Energy efficient drives
Jojo Mendoza, Senior Manager for Country Business Development of ABB, Inc., said his company’s variable frequency drives help its customers increase industrial productivity and lower environmental impact in a sustainable way.

The savings generated by variable frequency drives is considerable since industries account for around 1/3 of world’s final energy demand and 60% of industrial demand in developing countries. And there seems to be a clear recognition among industrial companies of the advantages to be had by being more energy efficient.

He cited a survey in which 53% of respondents agreed strongly that energy efficiency will be critical factor in the profitability of manufacturers. A further 33% agree energy efficiency will be critical success factor for manufacturers.

“The installed base of ABB Drives saved 310 million megawatt hours in 2011, equivalent to the yearly consumption of about 75 million EU households,” Mendoza said. “In terms of CO2 reduction, these savings equate to 260 million tons, more than the yearly emissions of over 65 million cars.”

More than lighting
Gilbert Ong, Manager Lighting Applications Support, Philips Electronics and Lighting, Inc. surprisingly identified Philips as a “well-being and health company.” And he then explained why.

“Light is not enough especially for a workplace,” Ong explained. “We spend a third of our lives and ordinary light will not do.”

To prevent eyestrain and promote well-being, Ong recommends combining high-performance luminaires such as those made by his company and good lighting design practices. Philips believes in using the right lighting in both the office & industrial environment.

“Light is productivity,” he said. “Effective lighting not only keeps people alert and focused, it also lights up their tasks and helps improve performance, productivity and output. It also minimizes the strain on the eyes of employees.”

He said that Philips believes that providing the right illumination should be complemented by high performance luminaires, daylight integration and controls and appropriate light levels.

Together, these will promote a healthy working environment; increase productivity and significantly save energy.

He also batted for increasing energy savings by using LEDs that last longer and are low maintenance. Using LEDs also allow flexibility by providing controls in lighting and daylight controls.

Power quality counts
The problem of poor power quality, while threatening, largely goes unnoticed.  In the USA, wastage caused by the range of PQ phenomena resulted in losses estimated at US$188 billion in 2000, said Raymond Marquez, Chairman, Steering Committee of the Asian Power Quality Initiative Philippines. The PQ problem has since worsened.

To combat this, there is the “Leonardo Power Quality Initiative” and its regional counterpart, the “Asian Power Quality Initiative (APQI).”

Marquez said APQI is currently conducting a Philippine-wide PQ loss survey to determine the extent of the PQ problem. The survey is collecting data on the economic implications of PQ parameters: voltage dips, short interruptions and voltage waveform quality. It is also gathering
data on the methods of assessing these costs.

The survey includes companies in the semiconductor, glass manufacturing, food manufacturing and plastics industries. It is expected to be completed this August.

PEZA: all out for energy efficiency
The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) plans to expand the PEP to include energy efficiency, said Tereso Panga, PEZA Deputy Director General.

“Energy management is no longer an option, but should now be a vital component of every business undertaking in response to the continued energy and environmental challenges that lie ahead,” he said.

He added that PEZA is promoting energy efficiency to rationalize costs forits 2,625 locators companies and make its 252 ecozones across the country more competitive. Investments in PEZA ecozones amounted to P1.995 trillion from 1995 to 2011.

PEZA believes energy efficiency is a component of eco-industrial development. In this context, energy efficiency means the optimum procurement and utilization of energy by minimizing energy costs and waste without affecting production and quality while minimizing environmental effects.

PEZA’s energy management initiatives include a scheme on retail competition and open access; a proposed ecozone solar facility in public ecozones and an energy management program in cooperation with ECCP’s Energy SMART Program, which foresees that PEZA will ‘encourage’ locators to invest in energy efficiency with the assistance of Energy SMART service providers.

Energy efficiency in government
The national government has much good news to report in its own energy efficiency initiatives. Evelyn Reyes, Director, Energy Utilization & Management Bureau under the DoE said the government is upgrading energy efficiency of government buildings under the Government Energy Management Program (GEMP).

The program aims to reduce annual consumption of electricity and transport petroleum products by at least 10%.

From September 2005 to December 2011, Reyes said the government was able to save
P1.6 Billion in electricity and P259 million in transport fuel through Energy Conservation Programs by each government entity and the formation of Energy Audit Teams.

She also noted the government had a second program, the Philippine Energy Efficiency Project (PEEP), which consists of an efficient lighting initiative that includes a retrofit of government office buildings and a green building initiative.

Standard required
Institutionalizing an energy management system such as ISO 50001 faces many challenges, said Richard Saing, UNIDO Project Coordinator, Philippine Industrial Energy Efficiency Project.

“The biggest problem is that energy efficiency is not integrated into daily management practices,” he noted.

The solution, he believes, is that top management needs to be engaged in the management of energy on a continual basis, and the employment of Energy Managers. Hence, the need for a standard such as ISO 50001.

“UNIDO is introducing the ISO 50001 energy management system along with system optimization approach for the improvement of industrial energy efficiency in the Philippines,” he revealed.

Among other key objectives, the project will integrate energy efficiency into management systems of industrial enterprises through energy management standards to accelerate adoption of energy efficient best practices on continuous basis.

The project’s expected national environmental benefits during its 10-year life include steam savings of 6,071,000 Gigajoules and energy savings equivalent to 2,057,755 MWh.

It also expects electricity savings equivalent to 969,203 tCO2e and fuel savings equivalent to 489,930 tCO2e.

“In the end, an energy management system is about continual improvement. It’s all about reducing energy costs,” he said.

In conclusion, the 3rd PEEF was a great success, raising the awareness of what energy efficiency can do for the competitiveness of companies and the country.

It became obvious that more stakeholders in the energy value chain are willing to invest in energy efficiency, But it was also clear that government should provide ‘carrots and sticks’ in driving energy efficiency and energy conservation. 



Friday, March 9, 2018

Will you still need me? Will you still feed me? When I’m 104?


 Published in the ECCP Business Review, 2011

TO BE TREATED with dignity as they approach the sunset of their lives, and passing away in the company of persons they love are yearnings universal among retirees.

Having these wishes granted is quite another thing, however. It demands the cooperation of the young, some of whom might consider the task of caring for retirees a form of involuntary servitude. Thankfully, this variant of social Darwinism isn’t the norm in the Philippines where tradition demands elders be respected and cared for.

These opposing viewpoints, however, present the opportunity for a more compassionate but business-driven approach to managed retiree care. This enlightened model creates an advantageous outcome for the retiree; the persons or businesses directly involved in sustaining him; his home country and the Philippines.

The 1st Philippine Retirement and Healthcare Summit held April 12 at the Dusit Thani Hotel rekindled the determination among stakeholders to push the Philippines as the preferred international retirement destination. Input from the summit will result in the drawing-up of a high-level roadmap leading to a comprehensive retirement program.

Critical to this roadmap’s success, however, is a tectonic shift in the process of managing retirement programs. In this new paradigm, stakeholders will veer away from a business model where “Silver Aristocrats” are treated by some as gold mines to be exploited and instead adopt an approach that treats retirees with dignity.

The 10 speakers at the summit talked about the international retirement market; the importance of retirement villages; healthcare services and the regulatory environment affecting the retirement industry.

The summit was organized by the Retirement and Healthcare Coalition, Inc. (RHC), an organization consisting of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines; the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines; the Korean Chamber of Commerce Philippines and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Philippines.

Summit partners were the Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) and Philippine Retirement, Inc. (PRI). PRA is a government owned and controlled corporation whose job is to attract foreign nationals and former Filipino citizens into investing, residing and retiring here.

PRI is a non-stock and non-profit company that unites under one organization all registered operators of retirement facilities, leisure and resort destinations, condominium and housing developers, hospitals, health insurance providers and other retirement service providers nationwide.

These chambers of commerce represent the major markets targeted by the Philippines’ international retirement industry. RHC aims to promote and win recognition of the Philippines’ value as a retirement haven, and as a center of excellence for medical and managed care services for retirees worldwide.

RHC: committed to seniors care
RHC is promoting the Long Stay Visitor program as a successful market entry strategy to gain credibility and trust in the Philippines. It offers services along the line of community development, lifestyle and healthcare.

Caring for retirees, most of whom are seniors in their 60s, no longer consists of consigning retirees to the tender mercies of uncaring (and probably abusive) staffs at “nursing homes.” What the RHC wants are fully integrated retirement villages responsive to the unique needs and wants of retirees and staffed by carefully trained, English-speaking Filipinos.

There is as yet no existing fully integrated retirement village in the Philippines as envisioned by the RHC, whose long-term commitment is to take care of foreign seniors.

But the model retirement village already exists: Lotuswell Resort at the small Thai city of Hua Hin, 180 km from the capital Bangkok.

The philosophy underpinning the success of Lotuswell is that seniors remain fun-loving persons who want to enjoy life in retirement. This positive force is strengthened by the homogenous nature of Lotuswell’s residents: mostly German-speaking pensioners, early retirees, couples and single persons from a similar age group.

These residents, mostly pensioners, thrive in a masterfully planned community that provides the amenities of a five star hotel; readily available medical treatment and recreational facilities specifically geared towards seniors.

Lotuswell is a retiree residential haven with spacious apartments and bungalows. There are no mansions or chalets within the 64,000 square meter complex.

Creating the ideal retirement village
ECCP Executive Vice-President Henry Schumacher told the audience of 500 persons that RHC had benchmarked a model project in Dumaguete City, capital of Negros Oriental, against Lotuswell. The result was a pleasant surprise.

“We discovered the Philippines can be competitive,” Schumacher noted.

RHC has begun the process of creating consortia to build its fully integrated retirement village ala Lotuswell and has begun investment promotion for this groundbreaking project.

RHC is looking at five promising sites for its retirement village: Dumaguete; Clark/Subic; Cebu; Tagaytay/Nasugbu and Metro Manila.

Schumacher noted that ageing populations in Europe, North America and North Asia want to improve or maintain their standard of living. Governments in these regions are faced with the twisted dilemma of exporting the old and importing the youth to remain economically viable societies.

This odd state of affairs benefits the Philippines since the country can afford to import the old from other countries while continuing to exporting its youth.

He noted that the financial crisis of 2008-2009 significantly eroded pensions and social benefits in the richer countries and dramatically drove up healthcare costs for retirees.

“There is an opportunity for the Philippines to get these retirees here but we have to get the product (retirement villages) right.”

“If we attract retirees, we have the obligation to look after them,” Schumacher said.

“It’s not a question of how much we charge them in the beginning. We should be able to keep them happy, keep them healthy and fulfill the promise of the Philippines as a retirement destination.”

He emphasized that RHC is committed to taking care of the international patient.

Schumacher identified community, lifestyle and healthcare as the three crucial pull factors that, if addressed correctly, should succeed in drawing tourists, long stay visitors, second homeowners and retirees to the Philippines,

When I’m 104
Tony Bridge, Executive Director & Chairman of BurnsBridge Sweett of Australia, described seniors as “the new teenagers” because of their lengthened life expectancies.

In Australia, for example, seniors lived to 82 years old on average in 2008 compared to 63 years old in 1928. Close to 40 percent of Japan’s population will be over 65 years old by 2050.

The same graying trend applies to the Philippines. Only four percent of the Philippines’ population were seniors 65 years old or older. This figure will more than triple to 13 percent by 2050.

This oncoming flood of gray, Bridge said, will warrant changing the title to that popular 1963 song by The Beatles from “When I’m 64” to “When I’m 104.” In effect, 104 is the new paradigm for old age.

Bridge said the Philippines has many of the key ingredients to successfully attract local and international retirees, which are taken to mean the “baby boomers” born from 1946 to 1964. Among these pluses are quality healthcare, good infrastructure, service culture and a low cost of living.

Crucial for the Philippines’ success as an international retirement destination, however, is developing a retirement and aged care model appropriate to its values and culture, while providing lifestyle attractions.

“Success is based on selecting the appropriate target market and business model based on market opportunity . . . so investments in understanding the market profile are critical,” he pointed out during his talk about market trends, drivers and outlook.

His proposed possible model for the Philippines would see the country advertise itself as “A center of excellence for baby boomer retirees.”

The integrated retirement business model created to support this claim would offer integrated retirement communities; a variety of independent retirement accommodations; acute care; community care; lifestyle interests; security and education, among others.

BurnsBridge Sweett is an independent consultancy providing property advisory and planning services; strategic advice and project management.

The Colonial model
Now is the right time for the Philippines to build retirement facilities and promote them to international markets, said Renee Fritschi, Managing Director of RPF–Hospitality Consulting in Bangkok.

The huge potential and growing demand for these facilities and the lower cost of living are huge advantages in the Philippines’ favor. Fritschi spoke about retirement village models for tomorrow’s customer.

“It is recommended to develop a multilingual community. This will be more demanding from an operational point of view, but will create advantages in regard to sales and market shifts.”

He noted that since a multilingual retirement villages will attract middle and upper income groups and retired senior military personnel, top quality design, construction and service are of high priority.

Fritschi presented what he described as a “Colonial Retirement Village” model for this ideal managed care community. The Colonial will be an integrated village with apartments in condominium-type buildings and in individual low-rise houses.

Infrastructure consisting of restaurants, a health center, common facilities, sport facilities, recreational facilities and a laundry, among others will support the needs of residents. 

“Service will be the key to success. Hence, professional resort management will be employed to create a social environment and assistance for the residents whenever needed,” Fritschi said.

He envisions the Colonial as having some 120 condos and bungalows only available for lease to retirees for 30 years. The minimum age to enter a lease agreement is 50 years old.

Fritschi’s company, RPF–Hospitality, is involved in hospitality consulting for hotels, resorts, restaurants, convention centers, spas and real estate firms.

The Indian experience
Atma Sharan, Vice-President for Ashiana Marketing Ltd in New Delhi, India, said that Indian retirement housing is part of much larger projects such as residential villages. All retirement housing is privately owned. Most are located in southern India with its more literate and richer population

Ashiana pioneered the retirement resort concept in India and in 2007 opened the country’s first retirement resort called Utsav in the town of Bhiwadi in Rajasthan province. In his presentation, “Turn Grey into Gold,” Sharan talked about the challenges facing retirement villages in India.

“The immediate growth potential is large since at present, facilities for senior living with healthcare are practically non-existent,” Sharan said.

What exists are “Old People Homes” set up and managed by government or charitable and non-profit organizations.  Healthcare for the elderly is not available as an integral service in these homes.

“There is no concept of assisted living in India,” he noted.

One reason for the difficulty in marketing retirement villages or the concept of assisted living is the perception among Indians that a retirement village is a piece of real estate and not a service provided for the benefit of senior citizens.

Because of this endemic market perception, his company is compelled to market Utsav as a real estate project. This perception limits the market for integrated retirement villages to the rich who have an idea and the means to avail of assisted living services.

“We are still confused,” Sharan admitted. “What business is it (retirement villages)? Realty? Healthcare? Hospitality?”

Despite these constraints, eight firms are building retirement housing in India. There are retirement homes in the cities of New Delhi, Pune, Bengaluru, Jaipur, Chennai and Coimbatore. This expansion, however, is being driven by a real estate growth potential and its attractive return on investment.

Actives in retirement
“What Comes After Active Retirement?” was the question posed by Dr. Mary Jean Guno, MD, Managing Director of HHC Home Health Care.

The answer is assisted living. Dr. Guno said senior citizens can move from active retirement into assisted living in retirement communities with recreational opportunities. There, they can utilize technology to prevent social isolation; take life enhancement programs and maintain functional independence through means such as exercise and environmental modification.

These communities can be active senior adult communities; continuing care retirement communities and long-term care locations such as the family home; an assisted living facility or a nursing home. Her company provides an assisted living facility.

“Assisted living (means a senior is) able to do activities of daily living alone,” she said.

Encouraging seniors to use technology is also an effective method of keeping them active. This means texting on mobile phones; making phone calls and using the Internet and its applications such as chatting, Facebook and Skype.

Technology can also help provide prompt healthcare. Telecare or telemedicine brings expert medical advice to the patient via Internet video or phone lines.

“Technology, if deployed in the right way, as a supplement to and an enabler of direct contact, can help older people maintain and develop social support networks,” Dr. Guno said.

And, of course, exercise and fitness programs are a must for a senior in assisted living. He can join life enhancement programs; pursue his own interests; join a fitness program or focus on spirituality.

Telemedicine: a lifesaver
But no matter how active a senior remains, age and its drawbacks such a more fragile physical condition will eventually catch up to the senior.

In his talk on “Ensuring Quality in Healthcare through Advances on Telemedicine,” Steven Normandin, President of AMD Global Telemedicine, Inc., said telemedicine is ideally suited for both developed and developing countries with remote communities to address many emerging healthcare problems.

Telemedicine’s current definition has been expanded to include the distribution of information and utilization of technology for the delivery of healthcare. It gives medical experts from a remote location immediate access to a patient in order to assess, diagnosis, monitor and treat him.

Video is an important method of delivering telemedicine to locations such as retirement communities, assisted care facilities and nursing homes.

“With the use of telemedicine equipment, physicians and healthcare providers can be electronically brought to the facility, often eliminating the need to transport the patient off site from the retirement community or nursing home for care,” according to Normandin.

“This lessens the risk of a fall or injury to the patient during transportation, and, avoids the expense of the transport.”

For seniors, telemedicine allows the delivery of medical care at a remote location and helps improve the quality and access to care in remote areas.

Normandin predicts that in five to 10 years from now, telemedicine will be an important way of providing healthcare to the general population since it saves money and provides quality healthcare. The aging population is also one of the key reasons for the coming boom in telemedicine. Worldwide, there is expected to be over one billion senior citizens by 2030.

Insurance portability
John Casey, President & CEO, Blue Cross Insurance, Inc., pointed out that no foreign retiree is going to come to the Philippines without healthcare insurance, hence the need for portability.

“Portability of healthcare can mean a number of things,” he said “but in essence it’s the right of continuity of a right to medical treatment and care.”

For a retiree, portability generally involves the continuity of medical treatment across national borders and the continuity of existing healthcare benefits across differing national or social healthcare systems.

The European Union’s EDPM is a good example of portable insurance with wide application. It has the highest standards of portability across borders of EU member states and is a mix of public, social and private healthcare funding methods.

In many aspects, it remains superior to the American HIPAA, which is valid only within the USA and can only be transferred from one company to another. Medicare is also not portable beyond the USA, which is bad news for the eight million Americans overseas.

EDPM and HIPAA are not portable to the Philippines so a potential retiree is faced with substantial out of pocket expenses. That’s because host countries in general aren’t enthusiastic about providing cover due to its huge cost and threats of fraud.

A solution is to form what Casey calls a “mutual benefit association for retirees” to be funded by the retirees themselves. Claims will be paid out of the pool of funds generated by the association. The association will also provide full in-patient cover (including pre-existing conditions) with sufficient but limited benefits.

In lieu of this unusual solution, retirees can take the usual route and opt to buy insurance from Philippine companies instead.

Casey described portability as a “very, very complex issue” that should be done on a bilateral basis piece-by-piece.

“The Philippines has many bilateral social security agreements for pension portability but not healthcare,” Casey said.

Welcome the Age of Ageing
According to PRA President Veredigno Atienza, the “Age of Ageing” and the “New Economic Normal” consisting of debt, deficits and deflation that are upon us should help entice retirees to the Philippines.

With 70 percent of the Philippines’ population below 40 years old, the pressure to cope with an ageing population is absent. Instead, the country’s youthful population becomes a major asset in boosting the retirement industry, he said.

A further boost is being provided by two bills that will update Executive Order No. 1037 issued in 1985 that created the Philippine Retirement Park System.

Rounding off the summit was an enlightening talk on the legal framework in the Philippines by two representatives from the law firm of Follosco Morallos & Herce.

Partner Froilyn Pagayatan and Associate Cielito May Velasquez covered a broad range of legal issues on the topic of immigration procedures and their related legal framework including common types of visas, the Dual Citizenship Law, the Special Investor Resident Visa and the Tourism Act of 2009.

New developments on the legal front include the proposal for a Medical Visa to promote medical tourism; a proposed bill called the Philippine Immigration Act of 2010 and a proposed special long stay visa.

The different open fora were moderated by Prof. Maria Cherry Lyn-Rodolfo from the University of Asia and the Pacific.