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Province formulating energy roadmap

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• GILBERT P. BAYORAN

The provincial government of Negros Occidental is tapping the University of St. La Salle in Bacolod City, to formulate an Energy Roadmap aimed at ensuring power stability in the province, in the wake of last week’s power outage in Western Visayas that lasted almost three days.

Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson met with Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez during the weekend and discussed the Energy Summit as well as Renewable Energy week, among other activities.

Lacson said the purpose of the Energy Roadmap is “to secure enough power for now and the future,” to make sure that what had happened in Panay will not take place in Negros Occidental.

He also revealed that an investor has expressed interest to put up an offshore wind energy plant between Negros island and Panay island.

Negros, according to Mayor Alfredo Benitez, is producing 800MW of power, of which 400MW is being used during peak hours, leaving an excess of 200MW.

Biomass power has not yet entered the grid, according to Lacson, noting also that while solar power is abundant in Negros, it “is for peak load only.”

Lacson said he also agreed with the statement of the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI) for Negros to have its own baseload power plant.

On the other hand, Wennie Sancho, Power Watch Negros secretary general, yesterday said that the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines should have learned its lesson from an old adage that “those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it” as he recalled that Western Visayas also suffered by a widespread black out for three days in April last year.

Sancho said that NGCP failed in its mandate as a system protector, because it was not able to avert the system from collapsing, noting also that it controls the supply and demand of power, by determining the power mix, through selection of power plants to put online.

He added that Congress should investigate NGCP, and even revoke its franchise, as it does not live up to its task to protect the system.*

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