PACE (Palawan Alliance for Clean Energy) Statement on the PCSD’s Approval of the Proposed Coal Plant in Palawan

We join all of Palawan’s affected communities and civil society in denouncing the action of the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) to approve the establishment of the DMCI coal fired power plant, during its meeting on 28 May 2015.

The manner by which the PCSD issued a Strategic Environmental Plan (SEP) clearance to the thermal plant project demonstrated this body’s brazen disregard of its core mandate to protect Palawan’s environment. The PCSD as a permanent regulatory agency surrendered itself to machinations of local politics, kowtowing to the provincial governor’s personal dictates.

We denounce the fact that there was no deliberation or debate at all within the Council as Governor Jose Alvarez held sway all other local officials including the mayors of Puerto Princesa City and the municipality of Narra who meekly kept their mouths shut when the resolution was made.As representatives of communities opposing the coal project, we were denied our basic clamor to be fairly represented in the decision making process.

We denounce the fact that even in the communities where the coal plant is planned to be constructed, there was no informed participation in the environmental impact assessment process. This denied community residents unbiased access to information on the coal power plant project.

We denounce the railroading of the entire local permitting process from the barangay level to the municipal level and from the provincial legislature to the PCSD Council. All of these processes were a mockery of the consultative and participatory processes required under existing laws, and in direct disregard of PCSD's own procedures. To date, DMCI has not submitted an Environmental Impact Statement on its project to the ECAN Board. There was no endorsement from the ECAN Board necessary to facilitate its endorsement to the PCSD. And finally, the coal option was evaluated but rejected as too costly under the newly approved Palawan Island Energy Development Masterplan.

Shocking and disturbing is the governor’s response that the project no longer needs the endorsement of the ECAN Board and the approval of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR),and that he can unilaterally change the energy masterplan. It is alarming that the highest-ranking public official in the province of Palawan contravenes the basic tenets of transparency, participation and accountability that our laws stand for. The Aquino Administration promotes good governance in its fight against corruption.

We thus call on every Palaweno to send letter-petitions protesting this mockery of our laws and processes to key national officials, the provincial governor, to all the government officials who sit in the PCSD, to the barangay officials of San Isidro, Narra and the municipal officials of Narra.


Mga Kababayan sa Palawan:

The efforts to put up a coal-fired power plant in Palawan is now in Barangay Bato-Bato, Narra, Palawan. Latest information from reliable sources, although not official, confirm that around 80% of the residents of Bato-Bato have approved the coal-fired power plant project of DMCI. Therefore, the fight against coal shifts from Puerto Princesa City and Aborlan to Narra, which is under the mayorship of Hon. Lucena Demaala.

Mga Kababayan, kung naaprubahan na po ng mayorya ng mga residente ng Bato-Bato ang coal plant (maigsing tawag natin sa coal-fired power plant), nasa kamay na po ng Sangguniang Bayan ng Narra ang susunod na hakbang: ang pag-aapruba at pagpapasa ng isang resolusyon na nag-eendorso ng coal plant.

Atin po sanang talasan ang ating mga pakiramdam, paningin, at pandinig upang tayo ay makabalita kung kailan at makadalo sa sesyon ng konseho ng Bayan ng Narra na tatalakay sa coal plant. Maaari po tayong humiling ng isang mas malawak na public hearing tungkol sa coal plant upang magkaroon tayo ng pagkakataon na ipahayag ang ating pagtutol. Naisin po natin na makialam sa mga desisyon na may direktang epekto sa atin bilang mga Palaweno. Huwag po tayong manahimik lamang. Ipaalala po natin sa ating mga inihalal na mga lider ng Narra na sila ay ating mga boses sa Konseho at hindi sila dapat nagsasalita o nagdedesisyon para lamang sa kanilang pansariling kapakinabangan.

Ipaglaban po natin ang ating kalikasan! Huwag maging sunud-sunuran sa kagustuhan ng iilang mga gahaman! Sumama po tayo sa mga gaganaping pagkilos!


Generation Cost of Coal Fuel Combo: Coal Is Most Expensive!

How does coal compare with other power supply options? 

Coal mixed with other fuels is the MOST EXPENSIVE in terms of generation cost, yet, it is the preferred power source by the Palawan Provincial Government. 

If not coal, what then? Go for renewable energy.

Renewable Energy Projects in Palawan

Secretary Petilla has identified renewable energy projects in Palawan. Note that there are five potential hydro power plants in San Vicente but there are no takers yet (yellow in the picture below). 

Aborlan is not named in the map despite the potential hydro power source in Talakaigan.

Recommendations of DOE Secretary

Here are the recommendations of Sec. Petilla regarding renewable energy in Palawan. 

In the recent energy summit in Palawan, one of the measures adopted to resolve the power problems in the province is the "adoption of the Palawan Power Situationer and Outlook that was presented by Department of Energy Sec. Carlos Jericho Petilla." 

Any action to push the coal-fired power plant in Palawan is not consistent with the findings, conclusions, and recommendations made by DOE Secretary Petilla.

Every Palaweno should realize that there are better and cheaper options other than coal. Let us not be fooled into thinking that coal is the only option! 

Source of images: Petilla, J.C. 2014. Palawan Power Situationer & Outlook. Paper presented during the Palawan Energy Summit, 24 January 2014, Puerto Princesa City.

Causes of Brownouts in Palawan from October 2013-January 2014

Are the brownouts in Palawan caused by lack of power supply? 

The Palawan Electric Cooperative (PALECO) informs its members of power maintenance schedules through its Facebook page. A quick survey of its posts revealed that the causes of 34 instances of brownouts in a 4-month period from October 2013 to January 2014 are related to poles (replacement, addition), generators (tripped, emergency shutdown, replacement), line (line fault, line conversion, clearing, resagging), and line to ground fault due to gecko that short circuited and caused a total blackout in the entire Palawan grid. 

In the graph and table below are the dates and the corresponding causes of brownouts (copied verbatim from the Facebook page of PALECO). In my limited understanding of generators and electricity, I cannot see a cause that indicates  a lack of power supply. 

In short, the brownouts are not due to lack of power but due to the poor state of the transmission and distribution lines. So do not be lead into thinking that we are desperately in need of additional power through a coal-fired power plant. The coal-fired power plant will not solve the brownouts.  
Click on the graph for bigger view

Enero 29, 2014 (MIYERKULES)

Pagdaragdag ng poste malapit sa St. Mary’s Subd., pagdugtong ng linya ng mga sitio sa ilalim ng Sitio Electrification Program (SEP) at pagpapalit ng cross-arm sa harap ng 168 mall.
January 24, 2014 
PPGI Unit #3 tripped, engine fault indication due to lube oil low pressure.
January 16, 2014 (Thursday)
Replacement of poles at Pangobilian and Lada; And Installation of transformers at DENR and Multipurpose Cooperative
January 10, 2014
Unit No. 1 and 3 of Delta P Tripped.
January 8, 2014 (Wednesday)
Replacement of Rotten Pole (C8 construction assembly)
January 5, 2014
Emergency Shutdown of Unit #4 of Delta P
December 20, 2013
Delta P unit #1 indication – overspeed.
December 19, 2013
Damaged Transformer Pole near NIA Office
December 19, 2013 (Thursday)
Installation of additional pole for NOVO tapping pole.
December 17, 2013 (Tuesday)
Replacement of rotten poles at Iwahig National Highway, ahead of Bucana Housing (pole nos. PP0168, PP0169 and PP0621) and realignment of pole (pole no. PP0616).
December 16, 2013
Line fault - damaged pole and insulator. Power will be restored immediately after the completion of line rehabilitation and construction of pole.
December 16, 2013
Line fault
December 13, 2013
Line Fault at National Power Corporation Tie Line (busted suspension insulators found near Irawan Substation)
 December 6, 2013
Unit # 2 of Delta P Tripped – Indication was over speed.
December 4, 2013 (Wednesday)
Replacement of pole at Iwahig Highway.
December 3, 2013 (Tuesday)
Replacement of pole at Barangay Concepcion National Highway.
November 30, 2013
All recloser with Auto Load Dropping (ALD) tripped. This was caused by tripping of units of PPGI and DMCI. Disturbance initiated from over loading of Unit #1 and Unit # 2 and breaker failure of Unit # 3 of PPGI. DMCI over frequency tripping was cause by a big loss of demand affected by ALD.
November 28, 2013 (Thursday)
Replacement of rotten poles at Binduyan at National Highway
November 27, 2013 (Wednesday)
Continuation of Single Phase to Three Phase Line Conversion along Abad Santos Street.
November 19, 2013, at 6:07 pm Total Blackout at the entire Palawan Grid (Puerto Princesa City and Southern Municipalities)
Line to ground fault due to a gecko short circuited at Irawan 40 MVA National Power Corporation Substation power transformer bushing.
November 19, 2013
NAPOCOR Total Plant Shutdown
Replacement of 600 kW generating set by a 1,000 kW generating set (rental unit.)
November 18, 2013
Temporary Line Fault
November 18, 2013
emergency stop of operation on Palawan Power Generations, Inc.'s Unit #1 due to fuel leak that resulted to ignite fire.
November 14, 2013 
Delta P Unit No. 3 tripped, oil mist detected. 
November 14, 2013 (Thursday)
Emergency line clearing
November 13, 2013 (Wednesday)
Single to three Phase Line Conversion along Abad Santos St.
November 06, 2013 (Wednesday)
For replacement of rotten poles along Abad Santos St.
October 26, 2013 (Saturday)
 For replacement of rotten pole and conversion of A1 to A14 pole construction assembly at Abad Santos Extn. near Alvin Lao Warehouse.
October 26, 2013 (Saturday)
Assist clearing of Acacia tree near Old Garcellano Bldg, Pardeco Bancao-Bancao.
October 25, 2013 (Friday)
Resagging of Primary Line
October 25, 2013 (Friday)
Replacement of rotten poles
October 02, 2013 (Wednesday)
Replacement of rotten poles (PP2864, PP2849, PP2846)
October 01, 2013 (Tuessday)
Replacement of rotten pole (PP4845) near Yayen's compound, installation of additional pole in front of Smart Tower at Abad Santos Extn. and conversion of primary poles from A1 to A14 construction near Drugman Warehouse, Abad Santos Extn.
October 01, 2013 (Tuesday)
Replacement of rotten pole at PAGASA Compound (PP4411 and PP4412)

Revoked and Restrained

December 6, 2013 marked two victories for Palawenos who are fighting against the coal-fired power plant project of DMCI.

First, the newly installed Barangay Council of San Juan, Aborlan passed a resolution that revoked their predecessors' endorsement of the coal plant. How this development will be received by the proponents and by the Governor of Palawan, a staunch supporter of DMCI, remains to be seen.

Second, the homegrown advocates of No To Coal who organized and called themselves SAFE (Save Aborlan From Evils) went to court for a temporary restraining order. A few hours after the announcement of the resolution's revocation, the Regional Trial Court of Palawan under Judge Joselyn Dilig issued a 72-hour Temporary Environmental Protection Order or TEPO. It prohibits the Palawan Council of Sustainable Development from issuing a SEP clearance to DMCI until the court clarifies the issue.

These twin victories were capped by the visit of Lolita Carbon, the voice behind the famous 70's band, Asin. Lolita Carbon held a free concert where she gamely sang with Palaweno talents. She vowed to come back to support the No To Coal initiative via a concert cum rally.

We are hopeful that the odds will be on the No To Coal side in the coming days and weeks. Little victories such as these serve as inspiration among the defenders of Palawan against environmental destruction.