LA CARLOTA CITY – The construction of a biomass power plant here will boost the growth and the economy of the towns and cities of the fourth district of Negros Occidental, Rep. Jeffrey Ferrer (Neg. Occ., 4th District) said yesterday.
Ferrer, who joined the launching of South Negros Biopower’s 25-megawatt biomass power plant here, yesterday said it will create more jobs and additional income for the farmers in the district.
Rafael Coscolluela, provincial consultant on trade and investments and Confederation of Sugar Producers Associations president, who attended the launching in behalf of Governor Alfredo Marañon, said the establishment of the power plant is a significant development in pursuance of the green economy in Negros.
“This (biomass) is a dramatic change in the sugar industry in the Philippines and a start of a new industry, the biomass-sugar industry,” Coscolluela said.
Roberto Cuenca, who owns the property in Brgy. Cubay where the biomass plant will be built, said that since open field burning is prohibited under the Clean Air Act, the power plant that will use sugarcane leaves, locally known as Kanchaha, will not only give money to the farmers but will also help them manage their thrash.
Mayor Juliet Marie Ferrer said the clean enrgy plant, which will be constructed by Chinese contractor Wuxi Huagang that is an investor along with ThomasLloyd Group, Bronzeoak Philippines Inc. and Greenergy Holdings, assures her of the safety of the people and the environment.
Jose Maria Zabaleta Jr., president of Bronzeoak, said construction of the $107 million (P4.7 billion) plant, that had been approved by local and national government agencies, will begin in about six months.
Zabaleta said the 25-megawatt plant will produce about 180 million kilowatt hours that will be sold to the national grid at P6.63 per kilowatt hour.
“We will be utilizing indigenous local clean and renewable fuels to generate our own electricity for Negros instead of importing power from Iloilo or Cebu City,” Zabaleta said.
About 1,000 will be employed to construct the plant that will start on the first quarter of 2014 and about 600 people will man its operations when it opens in 2016, he said.
ThomasLloyd chairman and chief executive officer, T.U. Michael Sieg, said the plant will ensure stable power that will contribute to the economic development of La Carlota City and Negros Occidental.
Ma. Regina Martin, administrator of the Sugar Regulatory Administration, said sugar planters are united in the establishment of the power plant since they will earn not only from sugar, but also from electricity.
Department of Agriculture Secretary Prospero Alcala, whose message was delivered by Martin, said the biomass project will boost the campaign to diversify the sugar industry to produce not only sugar but also bio-ethanol and power.
The launching was also attended by European investors, Bacolod City Bishop Vicente Navarra, and La Carlota Vice Mayor Luis de Jesus Jalandoni III.*SGG