San Miguel opts for clean coal over RE


San Miguel Corp. said that it would opt to invest in clean coal-fired plants instead of pursuing renewable energy, as the latter imposes a heavier burden on end consumers through subsidies, its president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang said.

In an interview, Ang told reporters that in lieu of renewable energy such as solar, wind and hydro plants, the conglomerate through its unit SMC Global Power Holdings Corp. is committed to invest in clean coal-fired plants, which although more expensive than the ordinary coal-fired plant, would not pass on excessive monetary burdens to the end users.

“We are very much aware that a coal power plant is very harmful to the environment, the emission of that is seven times more that the clean coal technology, which if properly designed, emits almost no pollution,” Ang said, in response to the Lopez Group’s move not to support or invest in any coal-fired plant and engage deeply in renewable energy plants through its wind power plants.

“Although renewable energy is the most ideal, it is not sustainable, because it imposes too much burden on the end users,” he added.

Ang explained that a renewable energy plant, the moment it becomes operational, is being subsidized by electricity consumers by up to P9 per household versus the P3 subsidy being enjoyed by clean coal technology investors such as the SMC Global Power Holdings.

“So are you willing to pay that much subsidy? Well, if everyone is willing then we could engage in renewable energy. However, since it is not the case we opt to invest in clean-coal fire technology which is more sustainable and environmental friendly as well,” he said.

He explained that a clean coal technology plant entails about $2 million investment per megawatt versus the $1 million investment in ordinary coal-fired plant.

However, that amount is much less than the $3 million investment per megawatt with respect to wind power plants, which the Lopez Group is eyeing for further investment in the next three years.

Earlier, Ang said the company plans to build two power plants in Luzon and three in Mindanao with an aggregate capacity of 1,200 megawatts for about $4.2 billion.

In Luzon, SMC plans to build and operate four 150-MW circulating fluidized bed coal-fired power generating facilities in Pagbilao, Quezon. It will build another plant with the same specifications in Mariveles, Bataan.


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