Cebu News

Ludo Power presents benefits of plant amidst opposition

Jean Marvette A. Demecillo - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Four of six speakers in a public hearing yesterday opposed the proposed coal-fired power plant in Cebu City.

These include the Energy Working Group of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice, Health Care Without Harm-Asia, Greenpeace Southeast Asia -Philippines, and Sustainable Energy and Enterprise Development for Communities (SEED4COM).

Atty. Aaron Pedrosa, head of the Energy Working Group of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice and Secretary General of Sanlakas, said coal power plants are water-intensive facilities requiring millions of tons of water to operate.

"This should be of great concern for Cebu City which now faces a serious water problem aggravated by the drought spawned by the El Niño phenomenon," he said.

The groups asked the City Council to consider their stand, saying that no coal plant technology to date could claim of being able to arrest carbon dioxide emissions.

"The proposal to build yet another coal plant in the province and in the highly urbanized and heavily populated City of Cebu mocks our collective efforts to ward off the evils wrought by rapidly changing climate," Pedrosa said.

Assurance, benefits

The groups aired their opposition after Ludo Power Corporation presented to the City Council the Environmental Impact Assessment Study of the proposed 2x150MW Coal-Fired Thermal Power Plant Project that will be constructed in Barangay Sawang Calero.

Geosphere Technologies Inc. of Ludo Power Corp. consultant Renato Norente said the project will have no negative health impacts to the community surrounding it just like the status of the two existing coal-fired power plants of the company in Luzon.

"Among the mitigating measures that will be employed are the installation of electrostatic precipitators, use of sea water flue gas desulfurization, continuous emissions monitoring systems, dust suppression systems, ambient air quality monitoring, and compliance with the Philippine Clean Air Act and its IRR including emission and air quality standards," he said.

Lorente said the company has not been cited for violating environmental laws as far as its power plants in Luzon are concerned. In fact, he said, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environmental Management Bureau even awarded by company for being compliant with all environmental requirements.

He vowed that the company will do no less in Cebu City if the proposed power plant will be approved.

He said the coal ash will be transported in sealed Pozzolanic tankers and covered trucks to the cement company.

Norente said all generated hazardous waste will be stored, transported and treated in accordance with Republic Act No. 6969 or "An Act To Control Toxic Substances And Hazardous And Nuclear Wastes, Providing Penalties For Violations Thereof, And For Other Purposes."

Non-hazardous wastes will be disposed in accordance with Republic Act No. 9003 or "An Act Providing For An Ecological Solid Waste Management Program, Creating The Necessary Institutional Mechanisms And Incentives, Declaring Certain Acts Prohibited And Providing Penalties, Appropriating Funds Therefor, And For Other Purposes."

To ensure water quality, Norente said all drains of the power plant will be treated prior to discharge, adding, that there will be effluent and ambient water quality monitoring. He said there will be no groundwater extraction, as all water requirements will be sourced from the sea.

Meanwhile, to ensure operations will not disrupt the surrounding communities, Norente said enclosures will be put up for noise generating equipment. Because Sawang Calero is a coastal barangay, the equipment will reportedly be transported by sea.

The company will also conduct public health surveys and monitoring, as well as a social development program. Norente said residents of Barangay Sawang Calero will benefit from the project since the plant will generate employment.

Norente admitted it cannot be avoided that the plant will emit carbon dioxide, but pointed out that a technology the plant will use can clean the outcome of the power plant and lessens the impact. He said it is only a matter of management.

Norente made the clarification after Councilor Mary Ann de los Santos asked how the company can live up to the thrust of the city government to use renewable energy, considering that coal-fired plants emit carbon dioxide, which is a major contributor of global warming.

Asked why the plant is using coal over solar or wind energy, Norente said this is because coal is cheaper than diesel and gas and it will last for 200 more years.

As far as solar energy is concerned, Norente said there is no space in Cebu City that can support a base load. The country reportedly has no steady wind to support wind energy.

For its part, City Health Department Medical Specialist I Alma Corpin said the office will support the plant if Ludo Power Corporation will strictly implement the mitigating measures. (FREEMAN)

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