Biz leaders welcome expansion of Cebu coal-fired power plant
CEBU CITY — Business stakeholders in Cebu welcomed the expansion project of a coal-fired power plant in Toledo City to prevent outages that happened in Aklan early this year.
Concerns on the environment, they said, would be “outweighed” by the economic benefits that would come with more power supply, considering the dwindling reserves in the Visayas grid to which Cebu is a part of.
Aboitiz-led Therma Visayas Inc (TVI) will expand its existing coal-fired power plant in Toledo City bringing in additional 169-megawatt “on island” power supply.
“More power supply is always better,” said Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) president Charles Kenneth Co in an interview.
Just like its previous power plants, Aboitiz assured that their expansion would also be equipped with green technology.
He said they would use a “circulating fluidized bed (CFB)” which would reduce emission of toxic chemicals in the atmosphere.
According to the Science Direct website, the CFB combustion system is counted as one of those technologies which facilitates the use of fuels in an environmentally satisfactory and economically viable way.
CFB technology belongs to the group of clean coal technology, nearly eliminating the pollutants.
The Department of Energy has endorsed TVI’s expansion of its coal plant in Toledo City, located some 48 kilometers west of Cebu City or about an hour and a half drive from the capital city.
The Inquirer tried to get a statement from an environmental group in Cebu but it has yet to respond as of 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Former Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) president Steven Yu said Cebu’s base load power was fast dwindling because of aging plants and the expansion of coal plants from TVI would help improve the situation.
“It is public knowledge that our plants are aging, starting to frequently break down and we are lacking sufficient spare capacity to supplant it if something massive simultaneous break down happens,” he said.
Yu emphasized that economic benefits to prevent “costly outages” outweigh environmental concerns, especially with the presence of green technology on clean coal.
“While we are scaling up on our RE (renewable energy) generation capacity, this will help stabilize our power supply versus demand and avoid costly blackouts. The negative environmental effects are being outweighed by the positive impact to the economy and other offsetting carbon reduction measures,” he said.
As of Jan. 26, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) showed that the Visayas grid has the lowest power reserve at 269 MW as compared to the Luzon and Mindanao grids.
Visayas has 2,411 MW available power supply while its peak demand is at 2,117 MW.
Luzon has 3,608MW of power reserves while Mindanao has 802 MW.
MCCI incoming president Mark Ynoc emphasized the importance of stable power supply as vital in the continued recovery of business establishments from the downturn during pandemic.
Ynoc said that population was expected to grow and investments were also pouring in on Cebu which would need more power supply.
“When there is a pressing need for power, then we definitely need additional generation capacity and infrastructure,” Ynoc said.