Board members to visit coal plants in Iloilo, Cebu

BACOLOD City- Members of the Negros Occidental Provincial Board will visit coal-fired power plants in the neighboring provinces of Iloilo or Cebu.

Provincial Board Member Manuel Frederick Ko, committee on energy chair, said the visit will be made some time after the Panaad sa Negros Festival on April 8-16, 2019.

Ko said the result of their visit will be added in the committee’s report on moves to declare Negros Occidental a coal-free province.

After the power plant visits, the Committee on Environment will also conduct its own public hearing.

Ko admitted that the request submitted by Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr., to pass an ordinance to make the province “coal-free” will take some time.

Marañon had earlier signed an executive order declaring the province “coal-free.”

Under Executive Order No. 19-08 series of 2019, he declared Negros Occidental “a source of clean and renewable energy and a coal-free province.”

The order also created the Provincial Renewable Energy Council was established, which will be tasked with crafting measures to encourage “renewable energy programs for a greener and energy efficient province.”

According to Department of Energy (DOE) officials, Negros Occidental is the only major area of the entire Visayas region that has no reliable inland power source within the next five years.

Engr. Rey Maleza, DOE-Visayas energy management division chief, said both Cebu and Iloilo are expected to open coal-fired power plants within the year, with two located in Cebu and one in Iloilo.

“This additional 480 Megawatts, to be generated from the three power plants, will suffice for the Visayas requirements [over] the next five years,” Maleza explained.