Greenpeace: Coal is no answer to Mindanao power woes

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MANILA, Philippines—Greenpeace said the uptake of coal-fired technology was not the solution to the “looming power crisis” in Mindanao, as it urged government to reconsider its renewable energy options.

“Coal is the worst answer to the Mindanao power situation,” Beau Baconguis, Greenpeace program manager for the Philippines, said in a statement.

“It’s a short-term, short-sighted solution. It will compromise the island’s agricultural productivity, cause health problems for nearby communities, and will also lead to water shortages in the future,” she said.

Greenpeace reiterated its appeal to President Benigno Aquino III to “usher in” clean, green renewable energy and reject harmful coal plants. The environment group’s call came amid reports of an impending power crisis in Mindanao, based on a study released last week by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies.

Current Department of Energy plans for Mindanao are designed to promote the uptake of coal power, and several coal-fired plants are set to be operational by 2015, according to Greenpeace.

But coal and its negative side effects will only worsen Mindanao’s power woes in the long run, as opposed to renewable energy, which is good for the environment and business, Baconguis said.

Mindanao, which relies on hydro-electric power, faces energy shortages during the dry season due to lower water levels in its lakes and rivers, Greenpeace noted.

“However, coal-fired power plants are huge water guzzlers. The 300 megawatt plant being built by Aboitiz Power in Davao City is located on top of an aquifer in Binugao, Toril.”

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