By NELSON V. CONSTANTINO, Editor-in-Chief
with WIRE REPORTS
A TOP player in Mindanao’s power industry said a balanced mix of energy sources is the safest, most beneficial and most affordable option for Mindanao to ensure its long-term supply of electricity.
In a statement Aboitiz Power Corp. (AboitizPower) first vice president for Mindanao Manuel Orig said Mindanao’s hydropower plants can no longer sustain the region’s growing power needs due to seasonal prolonged drought brought about by the El Niño phenomenon that hamper their operations.
Orig said AboitizPower proposes to build a modern coal-powered plant that uses clean-coal technology to create the balanced energy portfolio.
“Modern coal-powered plants today are designed and built so that they meet international standards for safety, health and environment protection. We are proposing to build a $450-million [P15-billion] circulating fluidized-bed coal-powered plant in Davao. This coal-powered plant, together with existing hydropower facilities, will provide enough power generation for Mindanao consumers, businesses and industries,” Orig said.
Orig explained that the reservations some people have about coal-powered plants are based on an idea that coal-powered plant technology has remained the same in the past 50 years.
Orig said the reality is, present clean-coal technology is so much safer, healthier and environmentally protective.
The coal-powered plants that people usually think of are the old ones from the ’50s and ’60s. Since then, clean-coal technology has been developed to ensure that coal-powered plants have minimal negative impact on the environment.
He added that they are also much safer to operate and protect the health of surrounding communities.
Orig noted that Mindanao must rely on a mix of energy sources which is because hydropower alone is not enough to meet Mindanao’s power needs, especially when there is lack of water due to long droughts.
“There are several sources of clean renewable energy. These energy sources provide us electricity without causing harm. Hydropower is one of them. However, not all types of renewable energy are ideal for Mindanao at present,” Orig said.
He added that the other types are too expensive at the moment, and that if used to meet power needs, these technologies would only put an unnecessary burden on the public.
Orig said hydropower and modern coal-powered plants are ideal for Mindanao at present because they are both safe, environment-friendly and protect the health of the community—and they are more affordable for consumers.
He added that they also propel Mindanao’s economic growth.
Orig also pointed out that AboitizPower’s power plants have shown remarkable performance in meeting international environment, safety and health standards.
“The proposed Davao power plant will continue maintaining those standards. Our company has been in Davao for more than 50 years. We consider ourselves part of the community and so we will make sure that the community will benefit from this project,” Orig said.
Orig cited as an example the 200-megawatt Steag State Power Inc. power plant (where AboitizPower has a 34-percent stake) in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental, which has been operating since 2006.
He said the plant has continued to meet government and world-class safety, environment and health standards. A similar plant will be set up in Davao City, he said.
Orig also cited the company’s track record of transparency, accountability and social responsibility in communities where it does business. Distribution utilities Davao Light and Power Co. and Cotabato Light and Power Co. are subsidiaries of AboitizPower.
AboitizPower subsidiary Hedcor Inc. is developing new run-of-river hydroelectric power plants in Davao del Sur, Bukidnon and Luzon. It also owns the Talomo run-of-river hydroelectric power plant complex and the recently unveiled Sibulan hydroelectric power plant.