Palawan Council grants environmental clearance to coal-fed plant

Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) approved recently the application of DMCI Power Corp. to put up a 15 MW coal-fed power plant on conditions that it utilizes clean coal technology and  would convert to biomass fuel in  three to five years.

The approval came after the Sangguniang Panlalawigan endorsed the project last week in its second reading after it breezed through the hearing in the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources chaired by Provincial Board Member Albert Rama. Rama is a staunch ally of Palawan Governor Jose Ch. Alvarez who openly supports the project.

Alex Marcaida, spokesman for the PCSD, said that DMCI will utilize the “clean coal” technology in its 15MW coal-fed power plant to be located in Barangay Bato-Bato in Narra municipality.

“This is one of the conditionalities in the issuance of the SEP clearance, that the newest clean coal technology will be used to prevent water and air pollution and minimize other negative effects to the environment,” Marcaida said.

The “clean-coal” is circulating fluidized bed combustion technology prevents the formation of acid rain by effectively reducing the emission of sulfur oxide and nitrous oxide in the atmosphere. The CFB technology has a 99.9-percent efficiency rate in the collection of fly-ash and buttom ash, thereby preventing dust pollution.

“PCSD will be stringent in the monitoring of the construction phase of the power plant and the operation to ensure that DMCI does not deviate from its submitted plan to the Council,” Marcaida said.

He said that the phasing out of the use of coal is expected within 3-5 years to give way to feeding of bamboo as biomass fuel. He said that the phasing out period would be enough time for the development of 6,000 hectares bamboo plantation in southern Palawan.

After the SEP clearance, the coal-fed power plant has to hurdle the Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources which will grant the project its Environmental Clearance Certificate (ECC).

DENR requires all projects located in Palawan a SEP clearance before it deliberates and issues an ECC. Palawan is the only province in the country with its own environmental law – Republic Act No. 7611 or the Strategic Environmental Plan for Palawan.

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