Aug 172016

President Aquino on Friday inaugurated a 300-megawatt baseload power plant in Davao del Sur. Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines — A Department of Environment and Natural Resources audit of coal-fired power plants to ensure compliance with environmental standards is set to start within the month.

Environment Undersecretary Leo Jasareno said the department is already crafting the guidelines and criteria for the audit of coal-fired power plants, with a focus on the conditions that they were granted environmental compliance certificates (ECCs).

“We’ll start to audit coal-fired power plants. We are just finalizing the guidelines and we’ll start within this month,” Jasareno said.

Although applications for new coal plants are coursed through the Department of Energy, they must secure an ECC from the DENR before commencing operations.

Coal accounts for about a third of the country’s current total energy mix. Currently, there are 13 operating coal-fired plants. Twelve more are under construction and there are 13 new applications.

Environment Secretary Gina Lopez has been firm on her stand against coal projects and continues to push for a change in direction towards renewable energy for the country’s base load.

First on Lopez’s hit list is the Consunji-led Semirara Mining and Power Corp., the country’s largest coal mine, which has been given a show-cause order to explain alleged violations or face possible suspension.

Meanwhile, the DENR continues its separate audit on all mining firms to ensure responsible mining in the country.

To date, the DENR has suspended 10 mining companies and is on track to finish the audit of all 42 metallic mines within the month.

“When the smoke clears, after the review, what we will have is a roster of responsible miners,” Jasareno said.

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