People’s organizations and green groups accuse the Aquino government not only of reneging on its promise to pursue renewable sources of energy but also of contriving the power crisis in Mindanao to railroad the construction of coal-fired power plants.
By MARYA SLAMAT
MANILA – A multi-sectoral rally in Davao marked the ongoing power summit today as various people’s organizations expressed doubts over the motives of the stakeholders in the said summit. “It is more advantageous for the people and the economy of Mindanao to harness renewable energy sources,” said Juland R. Suazo, spokesperson of Panalipdan, a broad alliance of environmentalists and people’s organizations in Southern Mindanao.
So far though, based on the Aquino government’s actions in response to the Mindanao power crisis, harnessing renewables does not seem to be its priority. Instead, the Aquino government and some energy capitalists are seen as railroading the approval of coal-fired power plants and further privatization of existing power plants, all of which have long been rejected by people of Mindanao.
Today’s ongoing summit has also been preempted by what environmentalists described as “hasty” approval of coal power plants. The construction of at least three is now reportedly being fast-tracked, to the dismay of protesting host communities.
Renewable energy sources abound in Mindanao. Pursuing it is viable, the sources are available and the prices are competitive, said Von Hernandez, executive director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia. Mindanao is sitting on a veritable “gold mine” of renewable energy sources that have yet to be tapped, he said.
The energy department’s renewable energy program itself lists up to thousands of available megawatts from renewable energy sources in the island such as geothermal (290MW potential plus current 103MW plus approved 50MW projects), hydropower (1080MW current capacity plus 1263.9MW targeted additional capacity), wind (336MW potential capacity), biomass (36.8MW awaiting implementation), and solar power (estimated 5KWhours per square meter). Additional resource mapping may further increase the potentials, said Greenpeace.
Josephine Pareja (Photo by Marya Salamat / bulatlat.com)
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Source: The Daily Tribune