Camiguin diesel plant project scored
MANILA, Philippines—A proposed diesel power plant project on Camiguin Island drew criticism from former senator Heherson T. Alvarez, a member of the Climate Change Commission.
Alvarez, in a statement, said the project was in “direct violation” of an Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) order.
“This project is being rushed by the Camiguin Electric Cooperative (Camelco) in violation of due process, in the face of widespread community opposition, against the direct order of ERC, and against the best economic and environmental interests of the province and its people,” Alvarez said.
In 2010, Camelco applied with the ERC for a loan to construct a 10-megawatt diesel power plant to replace electric power provided by a submarine cable from Cebu.
“However, the ERC rejected Camelco’s proposal as not feasible in terms of cost and system reliability and instead approved the construction of a 13.2kv submarine cable to address Camelco’s increasing demand,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez stressed that the diesel project lacked not only an environmental impact study (EIS) as required by law but also the necessary Environmental Clearance Certificate (ECC) from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
The official said Camiguin was a proclaimed Environmentally Critical Area (ECA), being a major eco-tourism destination. Alvarez said that if there is a future need for more power, Camiguin should be encouraged and supported in developing its large potential in renewable energy.
“In the long run, the diesel project will cause far more pains than benefits for Camiguin’s economy and society since diesel is expensive and its fluctuating market price is not good for the stability of the local economy, which is largely agriculture,” Alvarez said.
He emphasized that carbon emissions will reduce air and water quality, creating a negative impact on the island’s ecosystems and biodiversity.
Carbon emissions and warming waters will gradually kill coral reefs and other marine sanctuaries, thereby undermining the tourism potential and eco-tourism development of this island province, Alvarez said.
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