Power plants of Negros
Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
After the Energy Development Corp. announced that it is dismantling its geothermal plant in Mailum, Bago for its failure to generate its target of 49 megawatts due to the lack of steam, government officials revealed that German investors are planning to construct three biomass power plants in Negros Occidental that can generate a total of 85 megawatts of power.
Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. was probably trying to be reassuring when he told the province that, despite the pullout of EDC’s present plant from Bago City, many power investors are coming to the province, such as the group of German investors in October to look at the feasibility of biomass power plants. His information is that three biomass power plants are being planned: a 20 megawatt plant in San Carlos City, a 30 megawatt one in the EB Magalona- Victorias City area, and a 35 megawatt installation in the vicinity of La Carlota-Bago City.
If there is one downside to our country’s recently impressive rate of economic growth, it is a weak and stagnant power sector that could cause a debilitating power crisis in the near future. Power plants have to be built to support any kind of growth and the way things are going, the demand for electricity will soon outstrip the supply.
Plans to build biomass powered power plants may sound like good news, but we must remember that there have been many plans to build power plants in Negros in the recent past. A couple of years back, government proposals and even “serious investors” were touted to have been considering the rivers of Negros Island as potential sources of hydropower but the sad truth is that nothing concrete has come from those press releases. Hopefully, these German investors and the biomass power plants that they plan to build do not meet the same fate.
If, by some minor miracle, these planned power plants are built, commissioned, and start producing real electricity, we are hoping that our government officials will be able to compel those power producers to prioritize the factories, businesses and homes in Negros before selling that electricity elsewhere. After all, if a power plant is built on our land, if it uses our waters, if it is run by our sugarcane byproducts, and if it pollutes our air, then it is but natural that we should be the ones that should benefit from the power that it produces.*