Negros Occidental eyes power roadmap




The Manila Times


BACOLOD CITY: The Negros Occidental provincial government is preparing a power development roadmap for the entire province, former governor Rafael Coscolluela, the province’s consultant on energy and environment, said. Coscolluela, who leads the study, scheduled a focus group discussion with power generators on Friday, August 5. “We are creating a group called the Negros Occidental Power Sector Assessment Study that has been approved by Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson,” said Coscolluela. As part of the study, Coscolluela said they have set up discussions with representatives from the various components of the power sector — transmission, generation, distribution and consumers. “We want to ask these sectors what is your situation now, and what is the reason why we cannot use reliable, affordable, sustainable and renewable power. We are trying to understand the situation, and we had very good inputs from the electric cooperatives,” he pointed out. The three distribution utilities in the province are Central Negros Electric Cooperative, Negros Occidental Electric Cooperative and Northern Negros Electric Cooperative. “Once the problems and constraints are identified and understood, we hope to find possible solutions,” the former governor said. The study group will then present a power sector development framework so a power development roadmap can be crafted. Coscolluela said that Negros is the single island in the country that has the potential to be fully self-reliant on local energy sources, particularly renewables such as geothermal, solar and biomass. “The potential and installed power is sufficient, but the problem is we cannot utilize some of these for various reasons,” he said. Meanwhile, Lacson has given a go signal for putting up a solar plant in Calatrava town. “The solar farm is a go, it’s not a controversial issue, they were here with us, they showed their interest,” the governor said. Earlier, Aboitiz representatives briefed members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and also met with the governor. In a statement, AboitizPower said it will be developing 721 megawatts (MW) in renewable energy (RE) projects over the next three years as part of its growth strategy for the next decade, including the 150MW Calatrava Solar Power Project in Negros Occidental. Negros Island is known for being a leader in the development of renewable energy, particularly solar. AboitizPower said it is no stranger to the RE space as it was among the pioneers of RE as early as the 1970s.