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Monday, 04 April 2016 14:12

BEHIND  THE  LINES

San Jose, CA. — Well deserved. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has distinctively recognized three of Alsons Power Group’s subsidiaries for BEST COMPANY SERVICES.

The Southern Philippines Power Corp. and the Western Mindanao Power Corp., an imbedded diesel power plant in Sangali, west of Zamboanga city, were awarded by the Environmental Management Bureau for cooperation with their respective Multi-partite Monitoring Team (MMT). WMPC copped the award for BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICE ON STAKEHOLDERS PARTICIPATION IN REGION 9.

The MMT is a group that monitors power companies to make sure that the conditions outlined in their respective environmental compliance certificates issued by the DENR are complied with. The team is composed of the local government units, non-government organizations, women and youth groups, indigenous people, academe, provincial environment and natural resource offices and the regional offices of the EMB.

The SPPC was recognized for its “Adopt an Estero/water body” program involving the reforestation and cleaning up of the Maribulan river.

The third company, the Sarangani Energy Corp. was awarded the BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICE ON CONFLICT MANAGEMENT for effectively managing and controlling environment-related issues in Sarangani province.

As an addendum, why do we need coal-fired power plants to help energize the entire country, most especially blackout-laden Mindanao? As pronounced by Energy Secretary Zenaida Monzada: “The Philippines cannot unilaterally and immediately stop the development of new coal plants,” as proposed by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore. “We still need power. If there will be no more coal plants, will the typhoons stop coming? Will there be no more flashfloods? We need power to fuel the economy,” she asserted.

Ms. Monzada said that the Philippines had already agreed to a 70-percent emission reduction by 2030. “Coal plants are not here forever. For now, we need sufficient and reliable power. We need coal,” she stressed. At the same time, she said that the DOE is implementing/imposing stricter emission standards. The existing plants have passed stringent requirements before being issued the environmental compliance certificates. If the coal plants fail the standards set by the DOE, “we can close them down.” She added that the coal plants need to pass the requirements under the Clean Air Act.

For the record, 5,800 megawatts of installed capacity were generated by coal plants as of June, 2015. The bulk of the 4,775.6 MW were infused into the Luzon grid. There are nine existing coal plants in Luzon, five in the Visayas and only one so far in Mindanao.

By 2019, including the San Ramon Power Corp.’s plant in San Ramon, Zamboanga city, 49 coal-fired power plants are expected to come online. This will also include the 300 MW South Luzon Power Generation Corp. and the 135 MW South Luzon Therma.

And, get a load of this. The Federation of Philippine Industries said that the country cannot afford to reduce the capacity of coal-fired plants. In a statement, the federation said: “The Philippine response to greenhouse gas reductions should rationally be based on co-benefit measures such as reforestation.”

As a signatory to the 2015 Manila Declaration on Climate Change, the federation has been calling for the “alignment of climate change options to national priorities, circumstances and capabilities.”

FPI has been urging robust reforestation, traffic decongestion and a rationale evaluation of the country’s policy on renewal energy.

That, ladies and gentlemen, in a nutshell is where we are headed in the next 10 years as far as our energy resource is concerned. In the meantime, let’s worry about our present power condition in Zamboanga city. Is it getting any better? Are the modular gensets operational already? More importantly, is ZAMCELCO up-to-date in meeting its financial obligations with power providers?