Communities demand consultation on government push for new coal powerplants
Davao City – “There was no consultation in our community, there is no social acceptance of coal powerplant.“—This is only one of the many concerns of coal-affected communities and electric cooperatives who are currenlty attending the National Peoples Conference on Coal and Renewable Energy.
“The government failed to consult the main stakeholders on energy. These are the people who will be heavily impacted by the planned expansion of coal power-plants all over the country. Instead, Pnoy immediately consulted industry players and power producers whom are also major proponents of coal,” said Gerry Arances, National Coordinator of Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), one of the lead organizers of the conference.
The groups accuse the PNoy government of bias towards power industry players whose proposed solution to the energy crisis is to approve and build more coal-fired power plants. Contraty to the push of communities and organizations to maximize energy sources that have less impacts to the environment and health of people.
According ot the latest data of PMCJ, twenty-six (26) new coal plant projects comprising of forty-five (45) coal boilers have been approved and are expected to go online by 2020.
In Limay, Bataan, there will be a 600MW coal fired power-plant by San Miguel Consolidated Power that started construction last February 2013, to be finished by 2016.
“Matatapos na ang construction ng bagong coal power plant, pero wala paring consultation sa tao na malinaw na tumututol dito,” Derek Cabe of Nuclear Free Bataan Movement.
This is the same case in Ozamis City where there is a proposed 300MW coal powerplant by the Ozamiz Powers Generation Incorporated power, where communities are not fully informed about the project and its irreversible impacts. “May papasok na coal power-plant sa Ozamis based sa first scoping na ginawa ng company pero hindi lahat ng impormasyon ay binibigay sa komunidad. Kulang ang transparency sa kompanya at sa LGU,” said Arandy Silva, of Gitib Foundation.
Based on the Philippine Energy Plan (PEP) 2008-2030, the country will aim to target energy self-sufficiency through the use of fossil fuel, oil, gas and coal. Meanwhile, the President continues to question the reliability of renewable energy sources.
“With or without an energy crisis, the proposed new coal power-plants will inflict debilitating effects on environment, health, loss of livelihood and to our resiliency to climate change impacts. The government will put its people in danger with its energy plan.” Arances added.
Coal no more! Shift to clean, renewable energy
“The position of the government will lock the country into more dependence in using dirty and harmful dirty energy,” added Arances.
The Philippines has a vast potential for renewable energy. Data from PAG-ASA presents the following areas/provinces to have wind energy potential: Ilocos, Mountain Province, Palawan, Basco (in Batanes), Catanduanes, Tagaytay City and western portions of Batangas, Guimaras. Masbate, and northeast coast of Negros Occidental.
Solar energy on the other hand is opted for by more households in Mindanao where there is intermittent power supply. A viable option is to encourage local government units to identify the different renewable energy sources available in their areas in order to provide for the communities’ demand. This is a proposed solution to providing electricity to more than 2.7-million households.
Congress passed Republic Act No. 9513 or the Renewable Energy Act of 2008. In the law, end-users or energy consumers are encouraged to use green/energy energy resources.
Coal kills! Ash samples tested from coal plants in Toledo, Cebu, Sual Pangasinan, Masinloc, Zambales and Calaca, Batangas, and in Mauban, Quezon revealed presence of heavy metals – mercury (deadly neurotoxin) and arsenic (known carcinogen). As well as the hazardous substances lead and chromium. A typical coal plant generates 500 tons of small airborne particles that causes chronic bronchitis, aggravates asthma; 720 tons of carbon monoxide which causes headaches and additional stress on people with heart disease. It can also produce as high as 225 pounds of arsenic, a major cause of cancer, and 114 pounds of lead, 4 pounds of cadmium and other toxic heavy metals every year.
Coal is not Cheap. It comes with a horrifying cost to people and the environment – According to International Energy Agency (IEA), 45% or 14.2 giatonnes of the total 31.6 gigatonnes of global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil – fuel combustion in 2011 came from burning of coal causing global warming and climate change.
Coal Mining and combustion processes have serious effect on people’s health and environment weakening the capacity of people and communities to deal with impacts of climate change. Also, Coal Mining destroys forest, mountains and watersheds.
There is no such thing as Clean Coal – Clean coal technology emits 4 times more coal ashs compared to an ordinary coal plant. According to EIA, the risk of getting cancer is 900 times higher from coal ash exposure compared to cigarette smoking.
For more information on Renewable Energy: https://www.doe.gov.ph/renewable-energy-res
August 6, 2014
Khevin Yu, PMCJ Campaign Staff: 09175213356
Val de Guzman, PMCJ Energy Campaign Staff: 09199657509
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