Colmenares: Power plants to gain from PNoy 'emergency powers'

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 11 2014 10:13 PM | Updated as of Dec 12 2014 06:13 AM

MANILA – Several power plants will supposedly benefit from the suspension of environmental laws once the joint resolution on the "emergency powers" granted to President Aquino becomes law.

Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares identified these as the 135-megawatt Puting Bato Coal Fired Power Plant Phase 1, Pampanga Solar Power Project, 12-MW SJCPower Rice Husk Fired Biomass Power Plant Project Phase 1, 12-MW SJCIP Power Rice Husk Fired Biomass Power Plant Project, 12.5-MW Bataan 2020 Rice Hull Fired Cogen Plant, 150-MW SLPGC Coal Fired Power Plant Phase 1 Unit 1, 20-MW IBEC Biomass Power Plant, 150-MW SLPGC Coal Fired Power Plant Phase 1 Unit 2 and Sabangan HEPP.

"Based sa resolution na suspended ang environmental laws, marami palang planta ang pwede mag-violate nito at mag-benefit sa emergency power," said Colmenares.

The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading the joint resolution granting the President emergency powers to avert a looming power supply shortage next year.

The joint resolution suspends pertinent provisions of the Clean Air Act, Biofuels Act, the Philippine Grid Code, and the Philippine Distribution Code for the life of the resolution that expires July 31, 2015.

The joint resolution aims to prevent a power crisis in the summer of 2015 in Luzon through an interruptible load program (ILP) and the fast tracking of new and committed energy projects or power plants.

Part of this waives the requirements power plants must meet before these can operate.

Committee on energy chairman Reynaldo Umali again defended the bill, which will now be tackled by the Senate.

"Limited lang naman ito, sinasabi natin dito na ‘yung suspension of the operability of pertinent laws that may affect the operation and transmission of contracted generation capacities to ensure timely commissioning and utilization. Kaya lang natin gagawin para pagdating ng March-July, may magamit tayo saka suspended lang, ‘di ibig sabihin ‘di na ime-meet ang requirements dahil after July, ‘di na suspended at operational na ang batas. They have to comply. That doesn’t mean babalewalain na natin mga batas, isu-suspend lang," said Umali.

Meanwhile, Umali announced that softdrinks giant Coca Cola has signed onto the ILP, making it the first ILP participant that is not part of the grid of Meralco. The House has yet to decide if they will join the ILP.

Batasang Pambansa has its own self generating facilitiy that can lend 1.5-MW to the grid.

Umali is also confident that his Senate counterpart, Senator Serge Osmena, will back the measure.

"Limang beses na kami nag-usap ni Serge, sabi niya we’re on the same page. Sinasabi niya ngayon he’s willing to support the joint resolution,” said Umali.