Official: Weighing anti-coal proposal has to move forward

BACOLOD. Third District Board Member Frederick Ko, chairman of the PB committee on energy. (Erwin Nicavera)

A member of the Provincial Board (PB) in Negros Occidental said that efforts on weighing all the possible impacts of the proposed ordinance banning the entry of coal-fired power plant in the province have to move forward.

Third District Board Member Frederick Ko, chairman of the PB committee on energy, said that after their meeting with electric cooperatives based in Iloilo and Negros Oriental, they now have an idea as to the prevailing power situation in the region particularly in terms of sources.

Ko met with representatives of Panay Electric Company Inc. (Peco), Negros Oriental Electric Cooperative (Noreco) I, and Noreco II at the Provincial Capitol in Bacolod City yesterday.

“Too much of the cooperatives, we have to move forward,” he said, adding that the SP committee on energy will now have to make an assessment then proceed with the meeting with the Department of Energy (DOE) and National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP).

In December last year, the committee also conducted a hearing with representatives of electric cooperatives in the province including Central Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco), Negros Occidental Electric Cooperative (Noceco), and Northern Negros Electric Cooperative (Noneco).

All these three cooperatives mainly rely on conventional energy sources like coal.

During yesterday’s meeting, Ko said they found out that Peco, which supplies Iloilo area, sources 45 percent or majority of its requirement also from coal.

For Noreco I and II, only 15 percent of their power requirement comes from coal. The rest are a combination of renewable energy and mix sources from Whole Sale Electricity Spot Market (Wesm).

Ko said the meeting with the DOE is seen to address the need for accurate power outlook data in the province. If needed, its regulatory arm Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) will also be invited.

“Being the only transmission utility in the country, the NGCP will play a vital role in this matter,” he said, adding that the meeting will be conducted upon the confirmation of these agencies.

It can be recalled that the Office of the Governor has submitted to the PB the proposed ordinance declaring the entire province of Negros Occidental coal-free, clean energy, and environment-friendly province.

Ko, however, said that this remains a proposal as there is a need to consult first the various agencies and groups, as well as resource persons, in order to have a holistic approach on the issue.

Various groups, including the church, have been vocal on their opposition against the reported plan of San Miguel Global Power Corp. to put up a 300-megawatt coal-fired power plant in San Carlos City.

In fact, four dioceses in Negros already passed joint pastoral statement vehemently opposing the entry and operation of coal-based plants in the island.

Though, San Carlos Mayor Gerardo Valmayor Jr. had said that they are also weighing the impact of the project.


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