Group says Mindanao Coal-fired Power Plant means high power cost, dirty environment

The plant's host town lies 20 kilometers east of the port city of Cagayan de Oro City, Northern Mindanao's main industrial and commercial hub.

"The coal plant is a monument of how our decision-makers and transactional politicians are selling the right of the people to live in a balanced and healthful ecology that thrives in harmony with nature," Task Force Macajalar said.

"No matter how they project it to be cheap and clean, the fact remains that coal is the dirtiest fossil fuel and the main generator of global warming and climate change. It is not cheap because the environmental and health risk resulting in coal-burning accounts for huge external cost or the cost that society has to pay for damaged health of the people, destroyed environment and climate change," it added.

The group cited a European Commission study in 2003 which revealed that the external cost of using coal as fuel is $4 for every dollar of profit by coal plant companies.

Task Force Macajalar pointed out the plant is unnecessary based on the real power demand growth in Mindanao. It said the island's actual economic-growth shows that it does not have a real energy demand increase.

"The computation that Mindanao needs additional power by this year is based on economic growth estimates (Gross Domestic Product) of 9-11 percent, but actual economic growth is only 5-6 percent," it said.

The group warned of high power rates as consumers will reportedly have to pay for energy that is not being used. This cost is given to the consumers in the form of purchase power adjustment and systems loss.

"An archipelagic country like the Philippines should be very wary of the impact of global warming where coal-burning is the number one generator. We stand to lose with the occurrence of more extreme weather conditions like super typhoons Reming and Milenyo and droughts," it added.