November 25, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

Cebu must develop more green energy sources, be less reliant on Leyte power facilities -- Cobonpue

THE JULY 6 magnitude 6.5 earthquake that struck Leyte island and its resulting damages to power facilities has highlighted the need for Cebu to invest more on energy sources, particularly solar, the head of the Central Visayas Regional Development Council (RDC) said. Kenneth Chen Cobonpue, RDC chair, said Cebu should start moving towards relying less on power coming from generation facilities based in Leyte. “Definitely we have to invest more on power,” Mr. Cobonpue told reporters Friday at the sidelines of the RDC Advisory Committee Meeting. Most of the major power plants in Visayas are located in Leyte, which supply the power needs of Cebu and Bohol. The July 6 quake affected power plants and transmission lines, affecting electricity supply in Leyte, Samar, Bohol as well as Cebu. “Since solar is erratic, we need to invest more storage facilities of solar power,” said Cobonpue, a well-known furniture and interior designer. He said new green energy sources are needed, citing that Aboitiz Power Corp.’s 340-megawatt coal-fired plant is already expected to go online by end 2017 to help augment Cebu’s growing power demand.

In a separate interview, Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Glenn Anthony Soco said the recent power interruptions have particularly affected the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), which mostly do not have generator sets, such as small restaurants and small retail stores. “There are effects but these are very minimal in general sense,” Mr. Soco said. Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Melanie C. Ng, meanwhile, said the business sector understands the problem, but called for faster resolution to the rotating brownouts in some areas. -- The Freeman