CEBU, Philippines - An environmental group criticized the Philippine government’s continued fixation on coal-fired power plants as the main energy source.
Reuben Andrew Muni, Philippine Climate and Energy campaigner from Greenpeace Southeast Asia, said that while Filipinos cannot prevent super typhoons from entering the country, they can address what causes these storms.
“We tag coal as the culprit- the main driver of climate change,” said Muni in a statement sent to The Freeman.
According to the Department of Energy, a total of 599.60 megawatt of additional power is expected to boost the existing capacity of the Cebu-Negros-Panay grid by 2017.
Based on DOE report, as posted on its website on the “Private Sector Initiated Power Projects” for Visayas, of the 599.60mw, 352 mw is coal, 104mw is wind power, 57 mw is biomass, 50mw is geothermal and 16 mw is hydropower.
Report shows that 13 power plants are currently being built, of which two are in Cebu, five in Negros Occidental and each in Negros Oriental, Iloilo, Antique, Bohol, Aklan and Guimaras.
Greenpeace said that worldwide, coal-fired power plants are the biggest source of man-made carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions which cause global warming.
Muni added that government’s first order of business should be to promote energy efficiency and introduce more renewable energy sources in the power mix.
He further said that the Philippines should be part of the global solution to climate change by promoting clean, renewable energy as the long-term solution to the country’s growing power needs.
Meanwhile, Kabataan Partylist Rep. Terry Ridon said that DOE secretary Jericho Petilla may be creating conditions for generation companies to do away with required government permits, especially environmental permits.
Petilla earlier called on for smooth and preventive measures to secure the country from an imminent tight supply in the summer of next year.
With this possible scenario, Petilla recommended to President Benigno Aquino III to invoke Section 71 of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001, granting the latter an emergency power, to resolve the power situation in 2015.
Ridon, who is a member of the House Committee on Energy, said that while there is indeed a huge issue on power supply that the government needs to address, we need to be wary of moves that would essentially allow generating companies to build and operate power plants without complying with certain technical, financial, and most especially, environmental standards.
Such hazardous move, Ridon added, might prove to be unfavorable to our nation in the long run. —/NSA) (FREEMAN)