Project Monitoring [ADB]
VISAYAS BASE-LOAD POWER PROJECT
In December 2009, the Asian Development Bank approved a $120-million loan project to the Korea Electric Power Company-Salcon Power Corporation (KSPC) for the construction of a 200-MW coal-fired power plant in Naga, Cebu in the Philippines.
With a $100-million loan from Korean Export-Import Bank, the ADB-funded project will involve the construction of a coal power plant utilizing circulating fluidized bed combustion (CFBC) technology, claimed as a cleaner coal technology than the conventional pulverized coal technology as the boilers used are said to generate very low sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions.
The Visayas Base-Load Power Development Project, locally known as the Naga Coal Project, is an addition to the two existing 110-MW coal-fired power plants operated by the National Power Corporation which has been providing baseload power to the Visayas grid to cope with the region’s worsening power shortages. Under this project, the plant will consist of two 100-MW units which will utilize coal from Indonesian and local suppliers.
The ADB and KSPC failed to conduct meaningful consultation with affected people to inform them about the project and to ascertain the project’s social acceptability. The ADB and KSPC also failed to disclose relevant project documents such as the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), and preliminary project information during public scoping.
Community-based groups led by Freedom from Debt Coalition Cebu also claimed that CFBC technology only reduces sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions, but not carbon dioxide–the leading contributor to climate change. And with a production of coal combustion waste per wattage by CFBC plants, four times more than conventional coal-burning plants, disposal of coal ash will be a major concern.
The project has also been criticized as the coal ash dumpsite was not also included in the EIA. The assigned dumpsite is a submerged land fronting the sea, which will result in seepage/leakage of metallic elements such as arsenic, lead, and mercury which are identified harmful elements to both humans and marine life resources.
The ADB-funded coal power plant will also result in adverse impacts on the health of residents and nearby communities. The operation of the coal power plant is expected to lead to the proliferation of skin and respiratory illness based on historical data. Incidental spillage of coal by sea and land transport will expose residents and the environment to hazardous and toxic elements.
FDC Cebu and local communities filed a case before the Office of the Special Project Facilitator on 28 February 2011. The complainants decided not to proceed with the OSPF due to a lack of confidence in the mediator assigned by the OSPF.
FDC Cebu and local communities filed a case before the Compliance Review Panel on 23 May 2011. The case is still pending with the panel.
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