Garganera: WTE project still in progress

Cebu City Councilor Joel Garganera.
Cebu City Councilor Joel Garganera. (File photo)

THE waste-to-energy (WTE) project of New Sky Energy Philippines is moving forward, especially in obtaining the required permits from government agencies, contrary to the belief of Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, according to City Councilor Joel Garganera.

Sought for comment on Friday, April 26, 2024, Garganera, chairman of the committee on environment, said the project’s civil works will start in November 2024.

He added that the proponent will cover all the project’s financial requirements, saying it had already purchased a seven-hectare land for the facility.

Garganera said New Sky Energy Philippines will present an audio-visual presentation in May regarding the project, which he said will answer all the questions surrounding it.

Rama has given an ultimatum to two private firms, including New Sky Energy Philippines, saying they must complete their respective projects in the city within the agreed period or lose their exclusive rights to pursue them.

Over Cebu City Hall’s online program “Ingna’ng Mayor” last Thursday, April 25, Rama warned Expedition Construction Corp. and New Sky Energy Philippines to rescind their contracts and offer these projects to other interested parties if they fail to deliver them.

Cebu City News and Information reported that these two joint venture partners have failed to deliver their project for more than two years now.

Garganera, however, said he was surprised by the mayor’s recent statement in relation to the WTE project.

Garganera also acknowledged that he failed to update the executive department about the project.

New Sky Energy Philippines holds a joint venture agreement (JVA) for the construction of a P4.8 billion WTE facility. The JVA was signed on Sept. 22, 2022. This facility, once complete, will be able to process up to 800 tons of waste.

Meanwhile, Expedition Construction Corp. holds a JVA for the development of the 60-hectare Pond A, located at the South Road Properties, and the former Inayawan landfill. Signed on Jan. 27, 2022, JVA states that the firm will turn the area into a world-class estate.

Garganera said the time frame for the WTE project has been updated. He said the proponent will ensure compliance with all the requirements set by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the City Planning Board, and any other relevant agencies involved in the project.

Garganera said the Department of Energy (DOE) is also waiting for the commencement of the project, as it will set precedence for other cities to follow suit.

The WTE project to be constructed in Barangay Guba, Cebu City is the first of its kind in the entire Philippines, according

to Garganera.

Cebu City News and Information reported that on Oct. 18, 2022, Sweden Ambassador to the Philippines Annika Thunborg told Cebu City Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia that over 40 WTE companies supply 50 percent of the Scandinavian country’s energy.

If the City revokes the JVA with New Sky Energy Philippines, WTE operators in Sweden and Switzerland may be interested in giving separate proposals.

In 2022, Rama and Simon Paz, Expedition chairman and chief executive officer, signed the JVA with a completion target of five years.

However, nearly two years later, on Sept. 27, 2023, amid reports of project inactivity, the City Council, prompted by Minority Floor Leader Nestor Archival Sr.‘s speech, invited Rama to clarify the transaction.

Archival alleged that the contract could potentially deprive the city’s constituents and future generations of P135.8 billion.

New Sky Energy Philippines was granted one year to acquire the land and obtain all necessary permits for

their project.

Subsequently, the company planned to allocate an additional two years for construction, aiming to have the WTE facility operational by 2025.

Garganera said Friday: “As it is now, we will continue our current operations until the completion of the WTE facility and focus on having our 10-year SWM (Solid Waste Management) Plan approved,” Garganera said.

He said there is a great challenge in getting permits, especially since New Sky Energy Philippines needs not only to comply with DENR requirements but also the DOE requirements as it is a renewable energy equipment.

“All of the policies are relatively new, so there’s a lot to navigate. But we are hopeful for it to be completed as soon as possible,” Garganera said.

Garganera said the City would want to have the facility as soon as possible to help in reducing the volume

of garbage.

“It would really help us greatly once it’s operational,” Garganera said. / AML


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