Benitez open to coal plant: ‘What choice do we have?’

FORMER Third District congressman Alfredo Benitez said that if Negros allows a coal power plant, "it should be temporary and not a permanent solution."

Negros should look for an alternative source for its base load power needs or else “bite the bullet”, said Benitez, who is now the Trade and Investments Promotion consultant of Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson.

"Almost all countries are going in the direction of renewable energy to save the planet from climate change," Benitez said.

But he also said it would be very hard to be dependent on renewable energy sources alone, such as wind and solar, because these are unreliable and could not provide base load power.

“There are realities we have to face,” he said. “Solar cannot be a source of base load power because it cannot generate power during night time.”

Geothermal power would be the best source of renewable energy, he said during the sidelines of the inauguration ceremonies of provincial officials.

"If the province is thinking of using coal, other countries have signified that they will move to renewable energy but slowly and not overnight," he said.

He cited Germany which announced that in the next 20 years they will move 100 percent to renewable energy.

“Until we find a solution for base load and stabilize the consistent source of energy that technology of renewable energy should be augmented and complemented with a hybrid solution,” Benitez pointed out.

“I am calling for a power summit to engage stakeholders to understand the realities on the ground we must face. Let us explore alternatives that will answer the base load requirement instead of coal,” the former congressman added.

“It’s not because I'm for it, it’s just, what choice do we have?" Benitez said.

Meanwhile, Mayor Richard Jaojoco of Toboso issued Executive Order No. 011, Series of 2019 on June 13, 2019, declaring his municipality as a source of clean and renewable energy and a coal-free municipality.

Jaojoco cited Section 2 of Republic Act No. 7942 which provides that all mineral resources in the public and private lands within the territory and exclusive economic zone of the Republic of the Philippines are owned by the state. It shall be the responsibility of the state to promote the national exploration, development, utilization and conversion through the combine efforts of the government and the private sector to enhance national growth in a way that effectively safeguards the environment and protect the rights of affected communities.


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