Victory: Dirty energy dies in Philippines

The count down to the Earth Summit is on and developing nations are proving that we can make a difference

Feature story - 6 August, 2002
Despite attempts by developed nations, dirty energy is being killed off in the Philippines and the country is ready to embrace a future full of clean renewable energy.

Greenpeace worked with local people to install wind turbines in a Philippine village which had no electricity.

A 50 megawatt coal-fired power station proposed by a now bankrupt US company, to be built by a French/UK corporation and run on imported Australian coal in the province of Negros was declared officially "dead" by Philippine government officials. They agree that renewable energy is the solution to the province's power needs.

The death-knell for the Pulupandan coal-power project came as the Governor of Negros province, the Energy Undersecretary and several non-government organisations including Greenpeace signed a Memorandum of Understanding to provide financial and technical support to renewable energy projects and mainstream clean energy technologies such as solar, wind and modern biomass.

"The Department of Energy has already abandoned any talks, plans, whatever you want to call it, to promote the coal-fired project in Pulupandan," Undersecretary of the Philippines Department of Energy, Cyril del Callar said. "So let's put it to rest, OK? And we have to move forward - the answer is we have to use renewable energy."

Negros Governor Joseph Marañon says they are ready to embrace renewable energy and chart a sustainable energy future. "I wish to declare the full support of the province of Negros Occidental for renewable energy development. I am confident that with all of us here, united and committed towards this common goal, the quest for a greener and pollution free Negros, will soon be a reality, today and in the future," said Marañon.

Two billion people around the world currently live without electricity and developed nations are trying to push dirty and dangerous technologies such as coal and nuclear energies on these developing nations. They are promoting the very technologies their own citizens reject.

But communities in the Philippines aren't buying their rhetoric. The proposed coal-fired power plant was opposed by local community and environmental groups since 1998. Before that, three municipalities had already rejected it. Communities from around the world can look to Negros as an inspirational example of how they can demand - and get - clean energy, even if national governments or big businesses stand in their way.

And if a developing country like the Philippines can reject dirty energy, it's time for rich countries to do the same.

Later this month world governments will meet in Johannesburg for the Earth Summit. We want them to commit to providing clean and affordable renewable energy for developing nations. We also want governments to commit to converting 10 percent of their energy sources to clean, renewable energy 2010.

Governments can't let visionary developing nations down by continuing to keep the dirty energy industry alive.