KONTRA POLUSYON? Negros Occidental bans coal-fired power plants

Energy Department assessing renewable energy goals

Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. signed an Executive Order (EO) banning the entry of coal-fired plants in the province, cementing the region’s pursuit for increased usage of renewable energy sources.

The EO is in line with the Renewable Energy (RE) Act of 2009 as the state’s policy to pursue the development and usage of RE source.  

“More and more countries have been decommissioning its coal-fired power plants due to the damage it causes to the environment and in fact have been shifting to RE projects,” the EO stated.

“Climate change is already wreaking havoc on weather conditions with devastating effects, we need to act now to prevent further damage by banning the coal plants in Negros,” Marañon was quoted as saying in an Inquirer report.

The EO also instructed the establishment of the Provincial Renewable Energy Council, which will be the policy-making body in creating measures to encourage the use of renewable energy for a greener and energy-sufficient province. The council will be headed by the governor.

Aside from the signage of the EO, Marañon also made the declaration during the “Youth Strike for Negros,” a silent protest calling for the urgent action of the government.

The 2,000-strong protest consisted mainly of students.

San Carlos Diocese Bishop Gerardo Alminaza also joined the movement and said that the EO will strengthen the movement against forces that will pursue the entry of “dirty” energy sources like coal in the province.

SMC Global earlier proposed the development of a 300-megawatt coal-fired power plant in San Carlos City.

As of now, the Provincial Board is still in discussion on whether to green light SMC’s proposal. Committee hearings are still ongoing.