2/15/2011

DAVAO ... NEW POWER PLANT ?

UNE CENTRALE ELECTRIQUE A CHARBON SUR DAVAO ?
(in english)


Tous ceux qui vivent à Davao-City ou dans les environs, savent qu’il y aura pénurie d’électricité au plus tard à l’horizon 2014. Il est donc grand temps de pendre une décision.
Passer au nucléaire ? Cela prendrait trop de temps, il y a urgence.
De l’hydroélectrique ? Souvenez-vous des problèmes posés lors de la sècheresse de 2010 ! El Niño revient régulièrement.

Souhaitant qu’acteurs et spectateurs de ce projet arrivent rapidement à une solution satisfaisante pour les uns et les autres … ne faites pas trainer les choses, cela serait une fois de plus au détriment des populations et des industries locales déjà fortement affectées.
Où en sommes-nous de ce projet de centrale à charbon sur Davao ?

DAVAO CITY -- Aboitiz Power Inc., proponent of a $450 million coal-fired power plant in this city, has vouched for the safety of the project and vowed "not to do anything" to harm the environment.
"Our company has been in Davao for more than 50 years. We consider ourselves part of the community and so we won’t do anything that will negatively affect the community where we live in," Manuel M. Orig, first vice president for Mindanao of Aboitiz Power Inc., said during a roundtable discussion on the project organized by the Davao Association of Colleges and Schools (Dacs) at San Pedro College on Friday.

On the same day, oppositors of the project also conducted a forum where they presented health and environmental risks posed by the project, particularly on its contribution to climate change.
More than 150 participants, mostly barangay leaders, youth councils members, church people, and environmental advocates, gathered for the multisectoral forum, dubbed as "The Health and Grassroots Perspective on Coal Fired Power Plants," led by environmental group Panalipdan in Southern Mindanao and the Network Opposed to Coal (No To Coal-Davao), at the Brokenshire College here.
The forum was part of a series of fora and symposia that No To Coal has been holding all over the city since public debate erupted over Aboitiz's proposal to build a 300 megawatt (MW) coal fired power plant in the city.


The proposal has been presented to the City Council, but lawmakers have yet to deliberate on the matter.
But the council's presiding officer, Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, had expressed his support to the project in the hope that it will address the impending power shortage that businessmen claim will happen in 2014.
His daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, opposed the project, but leaves it out to the council to decide.

Even before the council could start its deliberation on the matter, debates on the safety of the project and its impact on environment have already heat up.
During the multisectoral forum, toxicologist and pharmacologist Dr. Romy Quijano presented hard evidences on the health impact of coal emissions.

He said coal-combustion waste has more than 20 toxics and heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium, mercury and lead as among the toxic and carcinogenic chemicals emitted by coal fired power plants.
"Low concentration of lead, even 10 ug/dl, can increase neurologic disease especially in young children," Quijano said.
He cited a study conducted by the Center for Clean Air Policy that showed 50 percent of the mercury emitted from coal-fired power plants can travel up to 600 miles from the power plant. The study, dubbed as "Power Plant Emissions and Water Quality," was conducted in 1997.
In the same forum, Vince Cinches, a campaigner for 350.org, an international movement for climate justice, said that clean coal technology cannot change the fact that it is the single biggest source of climate changing green-house gasses.

He said setting up a coal-fired power plant will negate international initiatives to address the causes of climate change.
"Dabawenyos should stop dirty, unsustainable and polluting sources of energy. Coal is not the only option in addressing the needs for increasing energy demand. Coal is actually more expensive because it destroys our environment, affecting health of the communities, and threatening our food security. With coal plants, the people are made to pay the health, social and environmental costs of coal plants with their lives," Cinches said.


But Orig said all of the company's power plant assets in the Philippines have shown remarkable performance in meeting standards and "Davao plant will not be different."
"If there is one entity who wants to make this power plant safe, it is us the investors. Why would we invest a huge sum of money only for our plant to be closed down for failing to meet the standards?" he said.
He said the company has the track record of transparency, accountability and social responsibility in communities where it does its business.

Distribution utilities Davao Light and Power Co. and Cotabato Light and Power Co. are subsidiaries of Aboitiz Power.
He also cited the 200-MW Steag State Power Inc. coal power plant in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental, which has been operating since 2006, has continued to meet government standards.
"A similar, if not newer plant in some aspects, will be set up in Davao City," he said.
Aboitiz Power has a 34-percent stake in Steag.

Orig also reiterated Aboitiz Power's commitment to develop renewable energy sources in the country, with its subsidiary Hedcor developing new run-of-river hydroelectric power plants in Davao del Sur, Bukidnon, and Luzon.


Hedcor also operates the Talomo run-of-river hydroelectric power plant complex and the recently-unveiled Sibulan hydroelectric power plant.
Aboitiz Power is the country's biggest generator of renewable energy resources, with Ambuklao, Binga and Magat hydroelectric plants as well as the Tiwi and Makban geothermal power plant complexes, all in Luzon.
"We need to create a right mix of energy sources so that when we experience long droughts, Mindanao will have reliable and affordable power to propel its growth," Orig said.


Meanwhile, Aboitiz Power reported that is setting aside $1.5 billion to finance seven power projects that will start construction this year.
The $1.5 billion in capital expenditures will be spent until 2014 to finance the construction of new power plants, including the 300-megawatt coal plant in Davao, the 600-megawatt coal plant in Subic and five hydropower plants in Mindanao and Benguet, with a total capacity of 55 megawatts.


Aboitiz Equity Ventures chief reputation officer Sebastian Lacson told reporters in an interview that the company is building new power plants to boost their generation capacity.
Lacson said it is necessary to ensure stable power supply with the robust development in the country today.
He also said the country’s economic growth this year is good for all industries, especially in the power distribution business.


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