Green group prods SMC to cancel remaining coal-fired power plant projects

Published July 13, 2021, 2:10 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

There are still a bunch of coal-fired power plant projects that must be ditched if San Miguel Corporation (SMC) is to prove its commitment to cleaner sources of energy, a pro-environment group said.

(Photo by Wander Fleur/ Unsplash)

“If SMC wants to grasp at the renewable energy (RE) message, it just needs to cancel all its coal projects,” Power for People Coalition (P4P) convenor Gerry Arances said.

Arances was referring to a statement over the weekend wherein SMC President Ramon Ang stated that three of its coal projects in Cebu and Quezon have already been canceled.

This was said to be consistent with the company’s “plans to move away from building new coal facilities” and mentioned “a company direction that is in line with all the major sustainability initiatives we have undertaken these past couple of years.”

The discontinuation of SMC coal projects in Sariaya and Pagbilao in Quezon and Malabuyoc in Cebu was first confirmed by the Department of Energy (DOE) in a letter received by P4P.

“While the cancelation of the three projects is good, SMC still has five coal-fired power plant projects which can still pollute their host communities,” Arances said.

The five projects were identified as the 300 megawatt (MW) coal plant in San Carlos, Negros Occidental; the 300 MW coal expansion project in Malita, Davao; the Central Luzon Premiere Power Corporation’s 4×355 MW project and Lumiere Energy Technologies Inc.’s 2×355 project, both in Pagbilao; and the 328 MW coal plant in Davao del Sur.

P4P bared that it was still trying to confirm with DOE and other relevant offices the status of the five.projects. Some of these have been delisted due to the non-submission of required updates or because of ongoing reviews, the green group claimed.

At any rate, Arances underscored the need for SMC to “completely pull out of coal” and to “commit to a 100 percent renewable energy portfolio with no detour to other dirty fuels.”

Environmental advocates have long referred to coal as a dirty power source, given the way it can pollute the air, soil, and water from its extraction to its combustion.

Since the DOE announced its coal moratorium in October 2020, about 3,100 MW or five projects have been shelved. Nearly 12,000 MW of proposed coal capacity remain undetermined, P4P said.