By Adam Ang



VARIOUS anti-coal groups have asked the government to declare the expiration of the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) of Meralco Powergen Corp.’s (MGen) large coal power plant project in Quezon province as its construction was supposedly delayed for five years.

Petitioners, including sustainability think tank Center for Energy, Environment and Development (CEED), filed a motion with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to declare the power developer’s ECC as expired five years since it was issued.

They claimed their opposition to the power plant, under MGen subsidiary Atimonan One Energy, Inc. ( A1E), “effectively delayed the implementation of the project.”

“A delay of more than five years implicate changes [in] the project’s baselines. Are environmental, social, economic considerations five years ago still true? This should prod the revocation of A1E’s ECC,” said Aaron Pedrosa, one of the petitioners’ legal counsel and secretary-general of Sanlakas.

“Given the five-year effectivity period of ECCs, the DENR should now declare the ECC of the power plant expired,” Avril De Torres, another legal counsel and CEED research head, said.

But according to MGen, its unit’s project, was recently certified by the DENR as an ongoing project.

“The company holds a certification dated May 22, 2020 from the DENR that states A1E already commenced project implementation,” the company told BusinessWorld in a message.

The Environment department issued the compliance certificate to A1E on Oct. 13, 2015 for its 1,200-megawatt (MW) coal-fired generator. It was declared an energy project of national significance by the Department of Energy.