San Carlos prelate, groups air worries over LNG project

CEED photo

The public scoping of a 300 MW liquified natural gas (LNG) combined cycle power plant in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, held Wednesday, March 16, was met with alarm from local stakeholders and energy advocacy groups, a press release from the Center for Energy, Ecology and Development (CEED) said.

They are concerned about the environmental and economic implications of a fossil fuel project entering the country’s renewable energy (RE) capital, it said.

The project is proposed by Reliance Energy Development Inc. (REDI), a wholly owned subsidiary of San Miguel Corporation (SMC).

“I’d like to understand why we are seeking to add a fossil fuel powered plant here in an island that is teeming with renewable power,” said San Carlos Bishop Gerry Alminaza, convenor of broad clean energy consortium REpower Negros, who had earlier written to SMC president Ramon Ang calling for a stop to the project.

“Existing renewable energy facilities today are not even fully maximized by Negrosanons, and yet we would be adding 300 MW more of new capacity. By using fossil gas, this plant goes against the hope of Negros becoming 100 percent renewable energy powered,” Alminaza said.

Youth advocates saidt Negros, which boasts of an installed generation capacity of nearly 100 percent renewable energy, has an imperative to maintain its status as an RE hub given its vulnerability to impacts of rising global temperatures due to fossil fuel emissions.

“Typhoon Odette did not spare Negros from its wrath even though we mainly produce clean energy. In the face of a raging climate crisis, we need to ramp up the decarbonization of all sectors of society, especially energy. A new fossil gas plant is in complete contradiction to this,” said Paul Serrano, convenor of Youth for Climate Hope (Y4CH).

Y4CH was among the groups instrumental in derailing a coal plant proposed in the same city in 2019 – the fifth battle won by Negrosanons against coal in the last two decades, the press release said.

“Today’s Negrosanon youth are inheritors of a legacy of victories against fossil fuels – a legacy that the generations before us protected. The stakes are even higher now. We will do our best to guard the hope of a clean energy future,” said Bianca Montilla, Y4CH co-convenor.

Construction of the P18.5 billion plant in the San Carlos Ecozone facing the Tanon Strait, which features four 75 MW generators and its own receiving and LNG regasification facility, is targeted to begin by the third quarter of this year, the press release said.*

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