Conal Holdings to build coal-fired plant in Maasim

Saturday, 07 June 2008 20:30
var sburl9396 = window.location.href; var sbtitle9396 = document.title;var sbtitle9396=encodeURIComponent(“Conal Holdings to build coal-fired plant in Maasim”); var sburl9396=decodeURI(“”); sburl9396=sburl9396.replace(/amp;/g, “”);sburl9396=encodeURIComponent(sburl9396);MAASIM, Sarangani (MindaNews/07 June) —  The Alcantara-controlled Conal Holdings Corporation will build its 200-megawatt, $450-million  coal-fired plant in this limestone-rich town that is also a favorite scuba diving spot.

Coal is one of the oldest sources of fossil fuel and when burned, produces energy but it also emits toxic gasses, such as carbon monoxide, when unchecked.

In a press statement, Gregorio S. Gonzales, Kamanga Power Plant general manager, said the company will use limestone to capture sulfur in the carbon that will fuel the plant. Sulfur, when mixed with limestone, will produce excellent material as additive to cement.

“With Maasim as a rich source of limestone, it is not remote that investors may build a cement plant in Maasim. Limestone is a major component of cement manufacturing,” Mr. Gonzales said.

The Alcantara Group is also a known player in the cement industry through the Alsons Cement Corp., majority of which was acquired by Holcim Philippines, Inc, said to be the country’s leading cement manufacturer.

Gonzales’s statement was not clear if he was referring to Holcim as among the cement investors who may come to Maasim.

Sarangani Gov. Rene Miguel A. Dominguez, whose mother is an Alcantara, earlier said the provincial government expects the coal-fired power plant to pull in the entry of other industrial investors.

The governor said they are hoping they can emulate the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority in the area with the coal-fired power plant as the magnet.

But Fr. Romeo Catedral, social action director of the Diocese of Marbel, earlier said the priest assigned in Maasim is rallying the Catholic faithful against the coal-fired power plant project citing environmental and human health concerns.

“The information and education campaign (on the evils of the coal-fired power plant) is continuing especially at the level of the Basic Christian Communities,” Catedral said.

While conceding that the issues raised by the opposition are for real if the power plant is not built and maintained properly,

Gonzales said the company will employ technologies in accordance with Philippine laws, as he allayed fears the plant would be harmful to the people and their environment.

Nitrogen oxide emissions, for example, will be at a maximum of 150 milligram per normal cubic meter (mg/Nm3), a target which is way below the 1,000 mg/Nm3 set by Republic Act 8749 or the Clean Air Act, he said.

Sulfur oxide emissions will also be set at 150 mg/Nm3 which is significantly below the 700 mg/Nm3 standard also set by the same law, he added.

The same is true with its carbon monoxide emissions (at 200 mg/Nm3 as opposed to the ceiling of 500 mg/Nm3). Particulate matters will be at 50 mg/Nm3, also below the 150 mg/Nm3 provided by RA 8749,  he said.

Gonzales, a mechanical engineer, said mercury emission in gaseous form will be strictly monitored not to exceed 0.02 mg/Nm3, also way below the 5mg/Nm3 volume set by the Clean Air Act of 1999.

The company is open to dialogues with groups opposing its venture, he said.

“We will always open our doors to everybody and anybody who have reservations and those who are opposed to the project. We have nothing to hide. And we will welcome suggestions on how to help protect the environment,” he said.

The Kamanga Power Plant project aims to initially generate 200 MW of electricity by 2011 with two incremental expansions of 350 MW over a period of 15 years.

Construction of the first phase will take three years and would employ at least 1,000 laborers and 300 regular workers during the operation stage, the statement said.

Mindanao has an existing generating capacity of 1,850.4 MW beginning 2008 but the dependable capacity is only 1,520 MW. Peak demand starting this year is projected to hit 1,440 MW.

Industry  regulations require the Mindanao Grid to maintain a reserve capacity of at least 23.4% of their generating capacity.

Peak demand for power supply by 2015 is expected to hit 1,750 MW but only the Sibulan 70MW Hydro Power Plant Project in Sta. Cruz, Davao is under construction.

“We expect power supply to become tighter and tighter over the next three years, edging towards a shortage 2012 onwards. This is the main objective of the Kamanga Power Plant project, to fill the gap between supply and demand,” Gonzales said.  (MindaNews)

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