Aboitiz eyes 51-hectare area as site for coal-fired plant in Davao

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/9 Feb) – Aboitiz Power Corporation is eyeing a 51-hectare property spanning Binugao and Inayawan barangays in the boundary areas of Santa Cruz town in Davao del Sur and Davao City as a possible site of the proposed 200-megawatt coal-fired power plant.

Manuel Orig, Aboitiz’s first vice president for Mindanao affairs, however, said the company is still conducting soil and water analysis in the area to find out if these are suitable for the project.

“We expect the results of the study towards the end of the month,” Orig said during a gathering of Mindanao power producers on Monday. “It’s only then that we will submit the proposal to the city council for approval,” he added.

Mindanao Development Authority Secretary Luwalhati Antonino said that Mindanao has slowly weaned its heavy dependence on hydropower with the setting up of more coal-fired plants in Mindanao. “Far from its sole dependence on hydropower about a decade ago, the setting up of several coal-fired plants in different parts of Mindanao has diversified the energy mix and lessened the island’s dependence on hydropower, which is susceptible to changes in weather patterns, particularly the long dry spell,” Antonino said.

Aboitiz earlier scheduled a trip for city councilors to its plant, a joint venture with STEAG, located within the Phividec site in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental to see for themselves how the clean coal technology works.

Aside from the coal-fired plant in Villanueva, another coal-fired plant is also being set up by Conal Corporation in Sarangani province.

Environmentalists, however, continued to oppose the coal-fired plants, warning that the changes in weather patterns, such as heavy flooding and prolonged drought that Mindanao has been experiencing, have largely been caused by the use of fossil fuels such as coal.

Groups like the Dabawenyo Ayaw sa Coal and Panalipdan also warned that the Philippines, an importer of high grade coal, will be subjected to the price fluctuations of coal in the global market, hence, putting in question the affordability and sustainability of coal.(Germelina Lacorte / MindaNews)