LETTER. A copy of the letter dated Nov. 14, 2022 received by Center for Energy, Ecology and Development deputy executive director Avril de Torres from the Environmental Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The Bureau’s Director William Cunado has confirmed that Reliance Energy Development Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of SMC Global Power Holdings Corp., has requested the withdrawal of its application for an environmental compliance certificate for the proposed 300-megawatt liquefied natural gas combined cycle power plant project in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental. (Image courtesy of Center for Energy, Ecology and Development)

BACOLOD CITY – Non-government organization Center for Energy, Ecology and Development (CEED) has welcomed the move of Reliance Energy Development Inc. (REDI) to withdraw its application for an environmental compliance certificate (ECC) for the proposed 300-megawatt liquefied natural gas (LNG) combined cycle power plant project in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental.

“This is a victory for Negrosanons, who have made their voice clear that they preferred renewable energy (RE) to LNG in sourcing their power for the island,” CEED deputy executive director Avril de Torres said in a statement on Wednesday.

CEED provided the local media with a copy of the Nov. 14 letter received by de Torres from the Environmental Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-EMB), confirming that REDI, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SMC Global Power Holdings Corp., has requested the withdrawal of its application for ECC for the project.

“The proponent decided to no longer pursue its ECC application for the proposed 300MW LNG combined cycle power plant project. As such, this office has withdrawn from the list of ECC applications the proposed project of REDI,” DENR-EMB Director William Cunado said in the letter.

The ECC is a document issued by the DENR-EMB after a positive review of an application, certifying that based on the representations of the proponent, the proposed project or undertaking will not cause an adverse environmental impact.

It also certifies that the proponent has complied with all the requirements of the Environment Impact Statement System and has committed to implementing its approved environmental management plan.

De Torres said “although LNG is considered a ‘transition fuel’ by some, it is clearly unnecessary for Negros, which boasts of extensive renewable energy facilities”.

In the same statement, Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of the Diocese of San Carlos, convenor of clean energy consortium REpower Negros, said he is “grateful for the help of the Almighty in ensuring that the voice of the people of Negros are heard and that the natural beauty of our island can be preserved through the minimal use of fossil fuels”.

“Negros is the center of renewable energy in the country, and we hope that the rest of the Philippines would follow its lead in saying no to fossil fuels and accelerating the adoption of the more affordable and sustainable renewable energy,” he added.

In March this year, REDI held a public scoping or initial preparatory meeting with the host-communities and the Provincial Board had subsequently passed a resolution of non-objection (RONO) for the local government-supported PHP18.5-billion power plant project that was proposed to rise at the San Carlos Ecozone in barangays Punao and Palampas.

“We also hope that the Sangguniang Panlalawigan will finally listen and pull out the RONO,” Alminaza said. (PNA)