03 August 2012

SC stops Subic coal power plant project

The Supreme Court has issued a Writ of Kalikasan against the planned 600-megawatt coal-fired power plant of Redondo Peninsula Energy Inc. at the Subic Bay Freeport.

The high court in a July 31 ruling restrained the company from proceeding with the construction of the coal power plant after Party-list Rep. Teodoro CasiƱo complained against the expansion of the power plant complex from its original capacity of 300 MW.

RP Energy is a joint venture among Meralco PowerGen Corp., a unit of Manila Electric Co., and Therma Power Inc. of the Aboitiz Group and Taiwan Cogeneration International Corp. Meralco PowerGen owns a 50 percent plus two shares in the joint venture while Therma Power and Taiwan Cogeneration hold the balance.

The Supreme Court also remanded the case to the Court of Appeals for further hearings and judgment.

RP Energy said it was reviewing its legal options after the high court gave it 10 days to respond.

“We respect the process and are mindful of the rights of those who filed the petition. Although we cannot discuss the merits of the case, RP Energy reiterates its strong adherence to the laws that govern us in implementing the project such as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ ECC process,” RP Energy said.

“Our records show that we have not violated or reneged on our commitment to safeguard the environment and the communities around us,” it said.

RP Energy president Aaron Domingo earlier said the company was hoping to get the environmental clearance certificate for the second 300-MW unit of the 600-MW project by the fourth quarter. RP Energy aims to complete the coal project by 2015.

“We have advanced the development significantly. The site preparation is almost complete we’re actually mobilizing people already. The ECC is a underway,” Domingo said.

The proposed Subic project will utilize two 300-MW units utilizing the latest clean coal technology. The entire project is estimated to cost $1.28 billion.

Meralco, meanwhile, is pursuing an aero-derivative combined cycle power plant in Calamba, Laguna.

“We have secured the site. We have an ECC and we’re continuing multi-partite monitoring process. The site is available for putting up peaking capacity should Meralco need it,” he said.

Domingo said Meralco PowerGen is also looking at liquefied natural gas and coal projects with a capacity of 300 to 500 megawatts each. (Manila Standard Today)