Firm expects ECC for Subic power project this yearBy Amy R. Remo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—Redondo Peninsula Energy Inc. is highly optimistic that it will be able to secure the much needed environmental compliance certficate (ECC) by September or October this year to enable it to push through with its 600-megawatt coal-fired power project.
In a briefing here, RP Energy president Aaron Domingo said they have no plans of downscaling the power project within the Subic Freeport to 300 MW from the original 600 MW.
He expressed confidence that they would proceed with the project as planned owing to what seemed to be a better reception from the people of Subic for the $1.28-billion power project during the public hearing conducted yesterday morning.
The company—which is a consortium among Manila Electric Co., Aboitiz Power Corp. and Taiwan Cogeneration—has an ECC for only the first 300 MW unit of the project. The ECC for the second 300-MW unit has yet to be awarded and was the subject of a public consultation yesterday, which was reportedly attended by an estimated 5,000 people.
“Today is a breath of fresh air … [the views were] more balanced. In the interest of progress and competitive power price, let’s give it a try given strict environmental policies,” Domingo said.
Zambales Gov. Hermogenes Ebdane Jr., during the public hearing Friday, even said that power projects such as this could be subject to further talks, negotiations and changes in regulations.
Ebdane said he understood the reservations of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, but added that some of the issues being raised could be resolved as what the US giant AES Corp. did at the Masinloc coal facility, which is located in Zambales.
However, there were still a number of representatives and groups that opposed the RP Energy coal power plant, including Zambales Vice Gov. Ramon Lacbain II, who cited its possible adverse environmental impact to the surrounding communities as well as the fact that RP Energy would be paying much less taxes to the provincial and municipal governments since the facility would be located inside the freeport.
Other issues that were brought up included benefits to host and surrounding communities, impact on marine biodiversity and on electricity prices, among others.
Still, Domingo expressed confidence that the company would be able to convince authorities as to how critical RP Energy’s coal facility was in ensuring adequate power supply in Luzon come 2015.
“We believe reason will prevail when we show that it is cheaper to build 600 MW as opposed to the 300 MW. The authorities will see that what we want are competitive power prices. We are confident that the whole 600 MW will be approved,” he added.
Domingo warned that should the coal-fired project be stalled, residents in Luzon might face power outages.
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