Calapan City—In the wake of unceasing and widespread power outages on this island, former Oriental Mindoro governor Rodolfo G. Valencia has urged government officials and electric cooperatives here to shift to the use of a coal-fired power plant as a major source of cheap, abundant, and affordable electric power.
Mainland Mindoro, composed of the two provinces of Oriental and Occidental Mindoro, has been experiencing four to 14-hour daily power outages since 2019 which only negates the island’s tagline as the “food basket of the region (Mimaropa).”
Valencia, now a private citizen and investor, said the “use of coal as fuel to generate electric power is now very safe unlike before when it is criticized as a major source of air pollution which seems to be true, but not now because of the application of modern technology.”
“The two Mindoros are hosts to 17 diesel and bunker-fired power plants, but they dismally failed to generate enough and affordable electric power to their member-consumers,” the former governor and congressman told local newsmen in a press forum held in this city.
“This is no longer the time for finger-pointing, but we’ve to work together for the common good. No ultimate solution to address these crippling power outages except to consider the proposal of the DMCI Power Corporation to connect the island by submarine cable to its 60-megawatt coal-fired power plant based in nearby Semirara Island, the site of the Consunji-lead Semirara Mining and Power Corporation,” Valencia said.
Newly-installed first district Representative Arnan C. Panaligan, on the other hand, has expressed dismay over the widespread brownouts crippling Oriental Mindoro, saying he would seek the review of all power sharing agreements (PSA) entered into between the Oriental Mindoro Electric Cooperative (Ormeco) and several independent power producers (IPP) operating in the province.
“It’s about time that we review the agreements. Masyado na tayong apektado sa kakulangan ng kuryente. Kung may mga dapat i-rescind o kung kailangan na maghanap tayo ng bagong power producers (We are heavily affected by the power shortage. We need to know if there are things that need to be rescinded or if there is a need to look for new power producers),” Congressman Panaligan said.
Citing the standing offer of DMCI Power Corporation, Valencia explained that the company can give even 1,000 megawatts of electric power the island needs “without expenses to be incurred for construction by either the provincial government or the local electric cooperatives.”
“The DMCI may either install the power plant in any municipality of the two provinces who wants to earn more revenues and income for the host town,” he added.
Valencia also debunked fears of islanders that the coal-fired power plant may cause air pollution on the island, saying that coal-fired power plants have either reduced or eliminated contaminants by the use of modern technology called “circulating fluidized bed (CFB).”
“We don’t have to fear coal because there’s already a modern technology to burn chemicals that cause air pollution. The CFB technology follows environmental laws and safety standards,” Valencia stressed, adding that the “CFB is mixed with limestone or apog to remove sulfur that causes pollution the reason why it is 99% won’t emit sulfur oxide.
The use of CFB technology has passed the emission test of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the World Bank Standards, he said.
The Philippines has existing coal-fired power plants in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, namely: 647-mw Sual Coal-Fired, in Pangasinan; 315 mw, Masinloc; 50 mw, Pampanga; 600 mw, Maraviles Coal-fired Power Bataan; 70 mw, Petron Coal-Fired Power Plant, Limay Bataan; 300 mw coal-fired power plant, Batangas; 456 mw, Quezon province; 882 mw, Pagbilao -fired power plant; and 150 mw, South Luzon.