Palaweños will soon be facing the danger of coal ash from the newly-approved coal-fired power plant by DMCI Power Corporation, warned Miko De Vera, the assistant vice president and head of Strategic Initiatives, Legal and Regulatory Office (SILRO) of the Energy Development Corporation (EDC).
In an open forum during the Green State of the Nature Assessment (SONA) 2019 on Tuesday, De Vera said coal-fired power plants emit ash and mercury, which are hazardous to human health.
“One of the biggest drawbacks of having a coal plant in your backyard is all about the toxic ash. For every ton of coal that you burn, there is an equivalent of another ash generated. That is dirty, and it has to go somewhere,” said De Vera.
De Vera said a specialized landfill aimed at holding this toxic ash could be built as a short-term solution.
However, it could not serve as a long-term solution as they will eventually run out of land to dump this waste.
De Vera said coal-fired power plant has a direct negative health impact to the citizens of Palawan.
He added coal has a mercury content, which is very dangerous to health.
De Vera said Philippines has a very high ambient mercury emission requirement, the reason why coal-fired power plants usually pass the guideline.
He said Palawan has a good hydropower potential, which can be classified under the renewable energy. This, he said, could be harnessed instead.
“There is a lot of hydro-power potential [in Palawan]. There are lots of rivers, which are not seasonal. They flow the whole year,” said De Vera.
In his speech, De Vera said being in the company that pushes renewable energy said they detest coal-fired power plant and its negative impact on the environment.
He said their company resolved never to associate, nor get linked to any coal-fired power plant corporation.
Earlier this year, the DMCI Power Corporation’s (DMCI Power) proposed 15-megawatt coal-fired power plant has finally been issued an environmental compliance certificate (ECC) by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
This indicates that the project could now proceed after years of struggling to secure the government permit, facing opposition from pro-environment groups.