San Carlos bishop, concerned groups decry LNG project
BACOLOD CITY––Local stakeholders and energy advocacy groups are opposing the public scoping of a 300-megawatt (MW) liquefied natural gas (LNG) combined cycle power plant in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental.
The groups are concerned about the environmental and economic implications of a fossil fuel project entering the country’s renewable energy capital.
“I’d like to understand why we are seeking to add a fossil fuel-powered plant on an island that is teeming with renewable power,” said San Carlos Bishop Gerry Alminaza, convenor of broad clean energy consortium REpower Negros.
“Existing renewable energy facilities today are not even fully maximized by Negrosanons, and yet we would be adding 300 MW more of new capacity. By using fossil gas, this plant goes against the hope of Negros becoming 100-percent renewable energy-powered,” the prelate added.
Youth advocates said Negros, which boasts an installed generation capacity of nearly 100-percent renewable, has an imperative to maintain its status as a renewable-energy hub given its vulnerability to the impacts of rising global temperatures due to fossil fuel emissions.
“Typhoon Odette did not spare Negros from its wrath even though we mainly produce clean energy. In the face of a raging climate crisis, we need to ramp up the decarbonization of all sectors of society, especially energy. A new fossil gas plant is in complete contradiction to this,” said Paul Serrano, convenor of Youth for Climate Hope (Y4CH).
Y4CH was among the groups instrumental in derailing a coal plant proposed in the same city in 2019 – the fifth battle won by Negrosanons against coal in the last two decades.
“Today’s Negrosanon youth are inheritors of a legacy of victories against fossil fuels – a legacy that the generations before us protected. The stakes are even higher now. We will do our best to guard the hope of a clean energy future,” said Bianca Montilla, Y4CH co-convenor.
Reliance Energy Development Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of San Miguel Corporation, proposed the project in San Carlos City.
The Center for Energy, Ecology and Development (CEED) said construction of the P18.5 billion plant in the San Carlos Ecozone facing the Tanon Strait, which features four 75 MW generators and its receiving and LNG regasification facility, is expected to start by the third quarter of this year.
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