Friday, 28 October 2011 09:44
AboitizPower and its subsidiary Therma South Inc. moved another step closer to starting construction of its 300-MW circulating fluidized-bed coal-fired power plant, after obtaining an overwhelming approval from the Davao City Council on the project’s application for zonal reclassification.
Earlier this year, the city council approved a resolution approving the company’s application to build the power plant in the city. Therma South also received favourable endorsements and zonal exemptions from the municipality of Sta. Cruz in Davao del Sur.
The project received its Environmental Compliance Certificate last month.
All of the 21 councilors present during the regular session voted in favour of the recommendation by the sub-committee committee on development. One councilor was not able to vote, while three others are on leave. President pro-tempore Karlo Bello presided on behalf of Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte who was acting mayor for a few days.
“We are extremely happy with the ordinance (reclassification). We have been transparent with all our plans and we are glad our city officials were convinced by our plans,” AboitizPower First Vice President for Mindanao Manuel Orig said.
The 300-MW baseload power plant is aimed at providing reliable and affordable baseload power for Mindanao.
“The committee has set conditions on the company independent of the conditions set by the ECC,” chairperson Rachel Zozobrado told the Council during her report. “Some of the conditions may be the same as the ECC or even more, but it is better safe than sorry.”
AboitizPower presented during the session the findings and recommendations of the water sudy team for using available fresh water sources in its proposed site after a thorough hydrology study led by Dr. Roy Soriano a Phd graduate in Civil and Environmental Engineering with over 27 years of experience in hydrology.
According to Dr. Soriano, spring water and surface water in the area are more than enough to meet the needs of the power plant. The findings were verified by engr. Uldarico Trawon, a hydrologist commissioned by the city government and by Engr. Ismael Tabije, who served as adviser to the team.
“A new hydrology study was conducted to allay the fears of the vice mayor, the city councillors and the people of Davao that the plant will jeopardize the community’s water use and affect the city’s aquifer,” Orig said. “As proven by the study, we will not have an effect at all.”
The proposed power plant is seen as the viable, affordable and reliable solution to the power crisis in Mindanao. The island is highly dependent on hydro power sources. The hydro power plants have recently been de-rated owing to their age resulting to the reduction in their production.
Power demand in Mindanao has also been steadily increasing while no new major power plants have been built in the last few years.
Government estimates that the Mindanao power shortage is set to worsen and that by 2014, the shortage will be around 480 MW – enough to cut off the entire power supply to the cities of Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Gen. Santos, Zamboanga and Butuan.
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