THE provincial board of Negros Oriental has issued a resolution banning the use of coal as a source of energy throughout the province, adding to the number of local governments that have decided to eradicate the use of the fossil fuel.
In an order dated March 28, Governor Roel R. Degamo signed a policy that all offices and local government instrumentalities in the province “shall not issue any permit, authorization, endorsement, or any expression of support to the development of coal-fired power plants.”
His declaration that Negros Oriental is an “environment-friendly and clean energy province” follows similar issuances by other local governments such as Guimaras, Sorsogon and Ilocos Norte.
Along with the order, the province has opted to use clean and renewable energy in its 19 municipalities and six cities to support economic growth and do away with activities harmful to the environment.
It said as a step forward, the province will stop using coal as an energy source because of its impact on the environment, including high carbon emissions on health and global climate.
The new provincial executive order supports the government’s goal of meeting its commitments in line with the Instrument of Accession to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which was signed by the President.
The agreement identifies the critical impact of global warming and the need to address this issue through programs that aim to cut carbon emission.
Based on data from the Department of Energy, the province hosts two geothermal power plants — the 49.4 megawatt (MW) facility in Nasulo and the 192.5 MW Palinpinon plant in Valencia. They are respectively run by Energy Development Corp. and its unit Green Core Geothermal, Inc.
Three upcoming projects in the province will all be using hydroelectric power. These are three separate facilities in Amian under Natural Power Sources Integration, Inc. with a capacities of 3.2 MW, 0.8 MW and 1.5 MW. The target testing and commissioning date of the first two is in December 2020, with the last one in December 2025.
Four separate projects using solar, hydropower, wind and battery storage technologies are in the “indicative” stage, or the project phase where the proponents are in the process of securing permits or negotiating project financing. — Victor V. Saulon