Philippine government officials confirmed today that the
proposed 50 megawatt coal-fired power station for Pulupandan in the
province of Negros was officially "dead" and that renewable energy
was the solution to the province's power needs. The announcement
came on the final day of Greenpeace's Choose Positive Energy Tour
in the Philippines.
"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 today. "So let's put it
to rest, OK? And we have to move forward - the answer is we have to
use renewable energy."
The Pulupandan plant was proposed by now bankrupt US company
Covanta, and would have been built by French UK corporation Alstom
and run on coal imported from Australia. It has been opposed by the
local community and environment groups, including Greenpeace, since
it was first proposed in 1998. Prior to that three municipalities
had already rejected it.
The death-knell for the Pulupandan 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.
"Negros is now ready to embrace renewable energy and chart a
sustainable energy future," said Negros Governor Joseph Marañon. "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."
Greenpeace hailed the end of the Pulupandan project and
subsequent renewable plan as "a great victory for the climate," and
urged others to follow the lead of Negros. "This is a great day for
the climate, and for the Philippine province of Negros," said
Greenpeace Southeast Asia campaigns director, Athena Ballesteros.
"The people of Negros have campaigned for years to stop the
proposed power station in Pulupandan. 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."
"This month governments from around the world meet in
Johannesburg for the Earth Summit. Greenpeace wants them to make a
commitment to provide clean and affordable renewable energy to the
two billion people around the world who currently live without
electricity. If a developing country like the Philippines can
reject dirty energy as we have seen today, it's time for rich
countries to do the same."
The signing capped the Choose Positive Energy campaign tour in
the Philippines by the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise. The
three-week campaign highlighted the negative effects of fossil fuel
energy projects such as coal-fired power stations, and promoted the
need for clean, non-polluting energy. The Arctic Sunrise will leave
the Philippines tomorrow for Thailand to continue the Choose
Positive Energy Tour of Southeast Asia. Another Greenpeace ship,
the Rainbow Warrior, is presently campaigning in the North Sea
against nuclear and fossil fuel energy as part of the northern leg
of the campaign tour.
The Choose Positive Energy Tour is part of Greenpeace's
countdown to the Earth Summit that will be held in Johannesburg,
South Africa this month. Greenpeace is also asking governments to
ensure that 10% of energy is provided by renewable sources by