TOUTED as the wind energy capital of the Philippines, the province of Ilocos Norte has shown its commitment to a cleaner and safer environment by banning the production and use of coal as energy source in the province.
Governor Imee Marcos on Thursday said the province is concerned by possible health hazards from coal waste as well as environmental consequences.
“This is the reason why we are intensifying our commitment to a coal-free Ilocos Norte,” Marcos said.
Earlier, the provincial government passed Resolution No. 017-2016, which declared Ilocos Norte as “clean, green and coal-free” and highlighting the province as “the undisputed wind energy capital of the Philippines.”
Marcos said their initiative for a coal-free province is also in support of the national government’s commitment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) to reduce carbon emissions from expected levels in 2030.
“Our vision for a ‘livable, sustainable, and resilient’ province, promotion of renewable energy and proper care of the environment has risen among our priorities in the province,” she added.
The governor said the provincial government’s vision includes the rejection of energy development using coal of any type.
“This is due to proven harmful effects [of coal]on the environment, impact on climate change and health menace to the people,” Marcos added.
In her 2016 State of the Province Address, she said, “As a province of farmers, ecological sustainability comes indeed naturally, but we have begun to take for granted even our environment.”
Ilocos Norte is host to the Energy Development Corporation’s (EDC) 150-megawatt Burgos Wind Power Project, the Northern Luzon UPC Asia Corporation’s 81MW Caparispisan Wind Power Station and the Northwind Power and Development Corporation’s 52MW Bangui Wind Power Project.
Recently constructed were the 5MW Agua Grande hydroelectric power plant in Pagudpud town and solar farms—the 20MW facility of Soleq Philippines Inc. and the 4.1MW and 2.6MW facilities of the EDC.
Meanwhile, the provincial government is forming a task force to review the province’s environment code and to incorporate stricter measures against coal energy.
Marcos said there is a need to reinforce ordinances and resolutions in support of provincial programs concerning the environment.
Citing her earlier policy direction, the governor added that there is also a need to retrofit old provincial and government buildings so they will be sustainable and efficient.
She said sustainability is the second pillar of provincial development “that is why we are aggregating power usage of public buildings to rationalize and save electricity, exploiting finally our provincial renewable sources.”