Shell’s Access to Energy project on Palawan Island, the Philippines
The Batak are one of the Philippines’ oldest indigenous peoples, living deep in the forest of Palawan Island in the remote village of Kalakuasan. At night, they have relied on light provided by burning wood wrapped in leaves, which is an inefficient, expensive and unhealthy solution. As part of its social investment program, Shell Philippines, through the Pilipinas Shell Foundation, funded a microgrid that uses hydropower and solar energy to bring electricity to Kalakuasan homes. The water comes from a nearby river and is supplemented by solar power linked to rechargeable batteries. Since its installation, the system has provided energy 24 / 7 to the village that comprises 37 households and an estimated population of more than 200 people.
Despite its relatively small size, the project transformed the lives of the Batak tribe. Reliable power has positively impacted livelihoods, health and education. Tribesmen are able to work for longer hours; children can read and study after dark; and mobile phones allow for better access to healthcare. Since the project’s implementation, 90 percent of suspected malaria cases have been diagnosed within 24 hours, 84 percent of children have lights in their classrooms, and the sales of handicrafts—an important income generator—have increased by 40 percent.