President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Friday inaugurated a new coal-fired power plant that has attracted criticism from environmental and church groups.
The 164-megawatt plant in Iloilo province on the central island of Panay would supply power to islands in central Philippines, ending months of daily power outages that have plagued the region, President Aquino said during the event.
He made no mention of previous protests against the plant but acknowledged the need to develop alternative energy sources.
“We should start exploring new sources of renewable energy such as solar, wind, and hydropower that are abundant in your area,” the President said, without elaborating.
But Amelie Obusan, climate and energy campaigner of the local Greenpeace office, said that the establishment of a coal-fired plant would make it harder to tap local renewable energy sources.
“This eases out the entry of some renewable energy projects in the area,” she told Agence France-Presse.
Obusan said that the central islands had been identified as having vast potential for wind and biomass energy and expressed hope that such sources could still be tapped.
About 40 percent of the Philippines’ electricity come from renewable sources such as geothermal, hydroelectric and wind, according to government data.