Maitum raises concerns on coal-fired power plant

Earlier, Joseph Nocos, a spokesman for the Alcantara group, said that based on preliminary studies, Maitum is the top contender to host the 200-megawatt coal-fired power plant.
Maitum is a sleepy coastal town long promoted by local officials as an eco-tourism destination of Sarangani province. Its tourism attractions include river tire-tubing adventure.

Mayor Elsie Perret  said the proponents have approached them to present the project and have brought local officials to other domestic locations where coal-fired power plants are operating.
“But they have not really presented anything (substantial) yet. We have let them know that we are a people concerned with the environment,” she said, adding the people’s sentiment is “wait and see.”

“Our people still have to see or understand the good the coal fired power plant will bring to the locality or how environmentally-friendly it will be,” she added.
The mayor, however, said some residents are also excited due to the employment that the project will generate, especially in the construction phase.
Conal Holdings Corp, 60% controlled by Alsons Corp. and the rest by Thailand’s biggest power producer, Electricity Generating Public Company (EGCO), targets to start plant construction by the last quarter of this year.
Feasibility studies are ongoing and expected for completion by March  2008.

Nocos said Conal is considering Toyota Tsusho Corp, a member of the Toyota Group, and Aboitiz Power Corp as possible investors to the coal-fired power plant in Maitum.

He assured the plant would be “environmentally-friendly,” citing advanced available technologies and the company’s plan to pursue massive tree planting activities.
But Nocos said that aside from Maitum, they are also considering as locations for the power plant the town of Kiamba, also in Sarangani, and some sites in Davao del Sur province

Company officials said last September that they expect the new 200 megawatts coal-fired power plant to be operational by the third quarter of 2011, fueled by coal imports from Kalimantan, Indonesia,
It was also announced that the plant’s capacity will be expanded to 900 megawatts in 200-300 megawatts increment to keep in step with the growth of the Mindanao economy. (MindaNews)