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WWF to Conal: junk coal-fired power plant

Minda News

1778 days ago   Article ID# 176948
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WWF- Philippines

DAVAO CITY, PHILIPPINES (Minda News) - Opponents to the soon to be constructed $450-million coal-fired power plant in Maasim, Sarangani have found an ally in the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

Naderev M. Saño, WWF- Philippines climate change and energy program director called on Conal Holdings Corp, a firm controlled by Alsons Corp., to ditch its plan to build a 200-megawatt coal-fired power plant and venture instead into renewable energy sources.|

Saño warned that among the harmful effects of burning coal are air pollution, acid rain, aggravated asthma, poisoned aquatic life and the possible exposure to radioactive materials such as uranium and thorium.

“Power generation from coal plants contributes over 35% of the country’s carbon dioxide emissions,” he said.

The Alsons (Alcantara and Sons) corporation is owned by the family of Sarangani Governor Miguel Dominguez.

In opposing the coal plant project, Saño noted the country has passed the Philippine Climate Change Act of 2009 and the Renewable Energy Act of 2008.

With those laws, the era for aggressive renewable energy options has come, and the continued construction of all coal-fired power plants nationwide belongs to a period that must come to an end, he said.

Joseph Nocos, Conal Holdings vice president, said the project will push through despite the criticisms and that they will employ modern technologies to contain pollutants.

"We can't let our massive investments go down the drain by being irresponsible in our operations," he said.

He added that they are open to hold dialogues with critics even as he pointed out that the firm has already acquired the environmental compliance certificate.

Conal Holdings, which is 60% owned by Alsons Corp and the rest by the Electricity Generating Public Co., Thailand’s biggest power producer, targets to start construction in the first quarter of 2010.

The town hosts a world-class dive spot. Environmental group Greenpeace as well as the local Catholic Church and other organizations earlier thumbed down the coal plant venture, on concerns over human health and the environment.

Among the proposed coal-fired power plant projects in the country is the 200-MW joint venture of Kepco Philippines Corp and Salcon Power Corp in Naga, Cebu province worth $120 million.

The Cebu Energy Development Corp is also planning to construct three other plants with a working capacity of 82-MW each in Toledo City.

In Concepcion, Iloilo, a planned 100-MW coal power plant by the DMCI Power Corp. was reportedly scaled down to 60-MW largely because local cooperatives have decided to source out the majority of their power from renewable energy sources.

However, construction is ongoing for the 164-MW coal power plant in Barangay Ingore, in the heart of Iloilo City. The $405 million power plant is being built by Panay Energy Development Corp., a subsidiary of Global Business Power Corp., WWF-Philippines said.

In rejecting coal-fired power plants, the group said the country has been blessed with an abundance of indigenous sources of clean, renewable energy.

“The Philippines is the world’s second-largest producer of geothermal energy,” said Rafael Senga, WWF Asia -Pacific energy policy coordinator.

“We also have tremendous wind resources just waiting to be tapped. All we need are key industry leaders in the coal sector to take the initiative to show the rest that a shift can be done, and done very well,” he added.

According to the Department of Energy, the country's renewable energy potential is vast, including 4,531-MW from geothermal; 13,097-MW from hydropower, and 76,600-MW from wind, WWF said.

Copyright 2014 Minda News   (Copyright Terms)
Updated 1778 days ago   Article ID# 176948

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