Sanchez: An argument bites the dust

Nature speaks

I COULD not for the life of me take the logic behind the insistence on the proposed construction of a 300-megawatt coal-fired power plant in San Carlos City.

So what? Negros Occidental has an abundance of solar power. The province is considered the solar capital of the country.

Then last year, regional director Helen Catalbas said that the recent recognitions given to San Carlos are based on its previous “performances” and records and may affect its tourism status.

San Carlos bagged the award after complying with the requirements of the Asean Clean Tourist City Standard (ACTCS), which is designed to protect the environment thus, responding to the impacts of climate change and contributing to the sustainable development of Asean cities.

Then recently, Forbes noted that the cost of renewable energy has tumbled even further over the past year, to the point where almost every source of green energy can now compete on cost with oil, coal and gas-fired power plants, according to recent data.

Hydroelectric power is the cheapest source of renewable energy, at an average of $0.05 per kilowatt hour (kWh), but the average cost of developing new power plants based on onshore wind, solar photovoltaic (PV), biomass or geothermal energy is now usually below $0.10/kWh. Not far behind that is offshore wind, which costs close to $0.13/kWh.

Whoa, there goes the arguments that renewables are costly. Maybe those batting for fossil fuels are basing their arguments based a decade-old argument, but not in 2019. Somehow, environmental concerns cannot hold a candle on economic benefits.

They should Google to get the latest data. I trust Forbes for latest news on the global economy. So in 2019, Forbes noted that figures are global averages and it is worth noting that the cost of individual projects can vary hugely—the cost of producing electricity from a biomass energy plant, for example, can range from as low as $0.05/kWh to a high of almost $0.25/kWh.

However, all these fuel types are now able to compete with the cost of developing new power plants based on fossil fuels such as oil and gas, which typically range from $0.05/kWh to over $0.15/kWh.

These figures are contained in the latest Renewable Power Generation Costs report of the Abu Dhabi-based International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), an inter-governmental body with around 160 members.

So, what arguments for public interests are those pushing for coal-powered plants when to lean on when they all have bitten the dust?


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