Super typhoon “Odette” (international codename Rai) tore across the Visayas, the second-largest group of islands in the Philippines, in December 2021, initially destroying the popular tourist destination of Siargao, which is noted for its clean beaches and surfing. Many other provinces in the area were severely damaged by Rai, notably Bohol, the home of the Philippines’ most famous chocolate, and Tacloban, Leyte, which is still rebuilding seven years after being struck by Typhoon Haiyan (also known locally as “Yolanda”).
Odette showed particular interest in Bohol and Cebu as it rumbled through the Visayas. Eventually reaching the strength of a Category 5 storm, it swept across a 600-mile span on both sides with sustained winds of about 100 mph (160 km/h). Over 80,000 homes had been destroyed by the time it left the Philippines a day later, and it had forced 481,000 people from their homes in Cebu alone. According to the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, a total of 992,000 dwellings were damaged and 368,000 were completely destroyed over the whole region (PDRRMC).
Shelter, electricity, and water were the three most pressing needs. The quickest electricity fix was solar power kits, each of which could power a single residence. The majority of the demands were covered by large corporations, numerous non-governmental organizations, and church organizations.
Additionally, there were outstanding efforts made on the ground that were comparatively lesser in scale.
Nelson Archival, a councilor representing Cebu City, converted his Nissan LEAF into a power plant for his supporters just before Christmas. He drove this vehicle between various barangays (small towns) and offered power for charging tiny devices from six in the morning till noon.
“Yes, I charged my cellphone and other battery-powered devices like lights, laptops, electric fans, and nebulizers using the Nissan LEAF. The LEAF has a lot of potential power, but typically our charging stations can only use 10% of that, according to Archival, speaking to CleanTechnica.
Unknowingly, Archival joined the Blue Switch experiment, which Nissan started in 2018. This presentation and numerous others throughout Japan illustrated the use of electric vehicles as power sources through lessons learned in the wake of the tragedy of the earthquake and tsunami on March 11.
“I know that my automobile can send power back to the grid in part. In those crucial few days when there was no power, I asked my dealer to help me put this into action, and I was able to move around many disaster areas and deliver power there,” Archival relates, noting that his dealer lent a second LEAF to serve more communities as the power situation did not improve.
A LEAF can be parked inside a structure or close to individuals huddling together to recharge their electronics because it is absolutely silent and emits no exhaust fumes. In order to provide power where it is needed, the Blue Switch program calls for collaboration with local governments and communities. More than 100 municipalities in Japan are connected to this initiative. Nissan has not yet opened an office in the Philippines because there are no agreements in place with any municipal governments there.
According to Archival, the electricity officials had a plan in place to restore power to up to 80% of customers by January 31, 2022, after Typhoon Rai passed. But it didn’t go like that.
Yes, there were still places without electricity for a further 30 days. But in mountainous locations, it was particularly challenging, so we had to travel to the closest drive-able location to pitch our tents and start our charging stations. We attempted to offer a lifeline in those locations with my car, Archival explained in Cebuano.
The city councilor has already identified places and worked out plans with local government units preparing for the worst in order to be ready for this year’s hurricane season. The residence of Councilor Archival is quite recognizable in the neighborhood thanks to its solar panel array and other environmentally friendly features, such as rainwater collecting and garbage management.
“The V2x is one really crucial capacity that I realized with the LEAF.” The “vehicle-to-everything” technology known as V2X permits bi-directional charging so that energy from a car’s battery can be used to power a home or piece of equipment, or it can just be returned to the power grid. We are prepared thanks to my 10-kilowatt solar system and batteries, and my automobile is always ready to be charged. I believe I am prepared for anything, he says.
*This essay was first written by the author for CleanTechnica.com five months ago. For publication, it has been updated.
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