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The Ground Breaking of the Kamanga Coal Fired Power Station?

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On Friday the 25th November there was a ceremony which was said to be the Ground Breaking for the planned New Coal Fired Power Station here in Sarangani Bay.

It was a bit of a strange event as nobody really new about it until nearly on the day. Many people were invited, myself not being on the guest list, and they all gathered at Lemlunay Resort in order to eat before the ceremony at 2pm when the sun was high and it was a hot day.

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There was a small flotilla of boats off the shore, some with Red Signs which were said to be in support of the project while others sported Green signs who were against the project!

The dignitaries who attended the meeting were the Sarangani Governor, the Philippine Trade Secretary and a member of the Alcantara Family.

Also within the area on that day were the Philippine Vice President and congressman Pacquiao, neither attended the event.

Along the road from Lemlunay to the Project area were protesters both for and against the project, the ones against were lead by a Catholic Priest while the ones for were just there not seeming to know even why they were there!

Now the main supposedly backers and financiers for the project, Toyota Tsusho of Japan, The Electric Generating Public Co Ltd from Thailand and the BDO did not have any representatives at this event so to be quite honest, I do not think that they have the finance for the project to go ahead just yet!

The Ceremony consisted of the burying if a time capsule near an office structure not quite on the construction area and the planting of ceremonial trees in the same area. Speaches were made buy the guests of honor and then there was a release of Fish Fingerling’s which were intended to help the restocking of Sarangani Bay. This would have been good but they somehow they missed the bay and released the Fingerling’s into the open sea! Whoops.

A new piece of news was disclosed at this meeting, the Kamanga area is now a Declared Special Economic Zone, I thought that such areas had to be debated in the different Government Departments, not just be declared!

The planned Power Station itself started off at 900 MW’s but is now down to 100MW’s. Why such a big drop in the plan?

There is much talk and promise of a 7,500 Hectare Carbon Sink where lots of trees will be planted in order to absorb all the bad stuff which will come from the plant but so far nothing has happened about this and I think that most people know that trees take time to grow to a useful size!

The original company who started the project was Conal Holdings but now a company called Sarangani Energy Corporation has taken over. Basically both these companies are owned by the Family of the Sarangani Governor so there is a difference in name only!

Congressman Pacquiao is again loosing popularity with his people because as a part of his election campaign he said no to coal but now he seems to be more of a team player with the Governor he has gone very quiet on anything green and the people have noticed his change of policy.

With the Ground Breaking having now taken place only the future will tell if the plant will go ahead or not. We will need more power in the future and I am sure that the powers that be will make sure of that but I still believe that renewable energy is the way to go. I think that even the Sarangani Governor might secretly agree with this as the wind snapped of the mast of his Hoby Cat at Lemlunay the other day!

Next year should be very interesting for this project, it will be only then that we will find out if the project will go ahead or not!

GenSan Chris

Chris Dearne, aka "GenSan Chris" is a long term resident of the Philippines. Chris has been living in General Santos City since 1992! Chris owned a hotel in General Santos called Cambridge Farm Hotel, and now also Agatha's Dive Center, formerly Tuna City Scuba Center. Chris' interests include Scuba Diving, Instructing, and Formula 1 Racing.

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Jim H
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Jim H

Always interesting how things happen in the Philippines. The thumb and the forefinger know exactly what’s going on, but the rest of the fingers are kept in the dark or only have a vague idea of what’s going on. One thing is for sure; more power is needed quite urgently; and the technology for renewables is not yet really fully ready for mass implemetation. Nuclear, statistically, is the best method (bad press, bad press, but two major international incidents in 30 years and virtually nothing happened). I definitely wouldn’t want to see nuclear power controlled by the Philippine authorities though…can… Read more »

Ricardo Sumilang
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Ricardo Sumilang

I don’t quite get it, Chris – your article states, Toyota Tsusho of Japan, The Electric Generating Public Co Ltd from Thailand and the BDO are the “supposedly backers and financiers for the project”. However, the sign by the roadside shows otherwise.

Here’s an interesting segment of “60 Minutes” shown just the other night about coal emissions and clean coal technology by pumping : http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=4969902n

Ricardo Sumilang
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Ricardo Sumilang

“… by carbon sequestration (capturing carbon dioxide) and pumping it into the ground:” http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=4969902n

Jim Hannah
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Jim Hannah

Interesting article Ricardo…I have seen several similar ones in recent years. Unfortunately, as a race, we keep doing things we shouldn’t do (short term thinking), and because we have this silly system called “democracy” where governments have to do what the people want instead of what the people need, or they get kicked out, that will never change. I think our best hope is that Mother nature herself will turn out to have a miraculous solution for this problem, because it’s certainly beyond us, at present. Even if the “West” tries to deal with this in the ways that we… Read more »

Paul Thompson
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Paul Thompson

Chris;
With Natural gas resources in the Philippines totaling 25.7 – 39.5 trillion cubic feet, do they really need to import coal?

MindanaoBob
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They have no plans of importing coal. There is coal in Sarangani and South Cotabato that they intend to mine.

Paul Thompson
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Paul Thompson

Bob;
Still natural gas is cleaner no matter where the coal comes from. But I did read that There are Philippine coals which are of such quality that they can be used by current users without the need for any coal preparation or blending with imported coal.

John Heitz
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John Heitz

Bob, Conal, the corporation that proposes the power plant claims they will import coal from Indonesia. They always claim they will not use the coal from South Cotabato and Sarangani. But who knows with these guys. They claim and say many things, a lot of them lies. I hope the potential investors realise that they maybe dumping their money down a black hole.

Daniel Koepf
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Daniel Koepf

Now that we already sit in the dark every evening and I have serious problems working at the computer with the permanent power shortage for several hours every day here in General Santos, I would say that I really don`t care what they burn. coal, gas – just finish it and have it on the grid very soon! – and if everyone of us plant a tree, we even make the power plant CO2-neutral 🙂

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