War on Subic coal plant losing battle, says trade group head
SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—The head of the Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce (SBFCC) on Tuesday threw in the towel in the fight against a planned coal-fired power plant here, saying it was a losing battle.
“We cannot fight a fight that is over,” said Danny Piano, SBFCC president, in a statement he sent to locators.
Earlier, however, Piano told Inquirer that business locators were split over the 600-megawatt coal-fired power plant that energy giants Aboitiz Power, Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) and Taiwan Cogen Corp. are planning to build in the Redondo Peninsula here.
“In any case, the stark reality is that the Redondo plant project is going to push through. It already has, in fact. The project proponent has already started development which it expects to complete by 2015,” Piano said.
He cited a study by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry on the need for the right mix of renewable but expensive energy sources and nonrenewable but less expensive energy sources like coal.
“It is a necessary evil, the same as our gas-guzzling cars and SUVs (sport utility vehicles). It is analogous to the reason why we are not all driving hybrid cars—because we cannot afford them,” said Piano.
But Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority Chair Roberto Garcia said the coal-fired power plant that will be built by RP Energy, the corporate vehicle of the three energy firms, will have to go through a social acceptability process.
Opposition to the coal-fired plant project from surrounding communities has been growing due to fears that its operation would harm the environment and because of lack of consultation.
RP Energy president Erramon Aboitiz, in a letter to Garcia last month, said power from the 600-MW plant would go to the Luzon grid.
But Aboitiz said the firm “is willing to make available a 50 MW block of power to SBMA.” Robert Gonzaga, Inquirer Central Luzon
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