Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Zubiri: Coal not necessary in NegOcc

A Negrense senator said coal-fired power plant is not necessary in Negros Occidental.

Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, at the sidelines of the centennial anniversary celebration and inauguration of the 40-megawatt (MW) biomass plant of Victorias Milling Company (VMC) in Victorias City yesterday, said the province is the largest source of solar energy in the country.

Zubiri, who was the author of Renewable Energy Act of 2008, said Negros Occidental has a solar power capacity of about 400 MW.

“I discourage coal-fired power plant here,” he said, stressing that “we have enough technology to produce energy.”

There is a proposed development of a 300-MW coal-fired power plant by SMC Global Power Holdings Corp. in San Carlos City.

Though various groups, including the church, have expressed oppositions against the project.

The Diocese of San Carlos headed by Bishop Gerardo Alminaza and various environment advocates including the youth have organized activities like “no to coal” protests and human chain activity, among others.

Also, Alminaza along with three other bishops in Negros earlier issued a collegial pastoral statement opposing coal.

On March 6, Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. issued Executive Order (EO) No. 19-08 Series of 2019, an order declaring the province as a source of clean and renewable energy.

Prior to issuance of the EO, as early as October last year, Marañon proposed to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) an ordinance declaring the entire Negros Occidental coal-free, clean energy, and environment-friendly province.

In the said EO, the governor reiterated his recommendation to the SP to issue an RE Ordinance, further stating an opposition to the setting up of a coal-fired power plant anywhere within the province.

Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, for his part, earlier said the Provincial Board is not delaying the process on whether, or not, approve the ordinance as committees on energy and environment are still doing series of hearings and consultations with the stakeholders.

Lacson said the SP should be careful in passing judgment to the governor’s request and people should consider its long term implication.

Moreover, Zubiri said that aside from solar, the province is also a potential source of wind energy.

“I hope they reconsider not to pursue the coal-fired power plant here,” he added.


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