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Philippines opts for Korean coal power
by Staff Writers
Manila, Philippines (UPI) Jun 28, 2011

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South Korea's state-run power company Korea Power Electric Corp. has completed a 200-megawatt power plant in the Philippines.

The $451 million coal-fired plant, funded in part by a $120 million loan from the Asian Development Bank, brings Kepco's power supply in the Philippines to a total of 2,050 megawatts, the company said.

With overall demand for electricity increasing 4 percent annually, the Philippines has been plagued by brownouts.

Department of Energy data shows the country's total installed capacity was 15,896 megawatts as of the first quarter of 2010, supplied mostly by coal-based power plants with an installed capacity of 4,523 megawatts.

The new plant in the province of Cebu has been opposed by environmentalists who warn about the pollution caused by coal dust, but President Benigno Aquino said it complies with the country's Clean Air Act.

"In the simplest terms, what problem do we want to deal with -- unstable power supply or the coal dust issue? The problem of coal dust has a solution. There are ways to mitigate it unlike a power shortage," the president said, inaugurating the new plant Monday, the Inquirer News reports.

But Gloria Estenzo-Ramos of the Philippine Earth Justice Center said the president "still has to connect the dots" on the effects of coal pollution on the environment. "He has not realized or perhaps pretends ignorance on the undeniable fact that coal is the dirtiest source of green house gas responsible for climate change," Ramos said, the Cebu Daily News reports.

Kepco Philippines President and Chief Executive Bok-Yull Lee maintains the coal plant, equipped with pollution devices, can provide reliable, stable, affordable and cleaner power until renewable energy sources can be developed on a wide scale in the country.

Coal supplied nearly 27 percent of the Philippines' power supply as of 2009, says a DOE report, with hydropower and geothermal sources each accounting for less than 17 percent.

Earlier this month Aquino formally launched the government's National Renewable Energy Program aimed at nearly tripling the country's renewable energy-based capacity from around 5,400 megawatts in 2010 to 15,300 megawatts in 2030.

He called the program "a symbolic first step in our journey towards fulfilling our vision of a Philippines unbound from the vagaries of the world oil market -- a Philippines where we can choose not to sacrifice the environment, particularly the air we breathe, just to power our industries."

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Iraq's Kirkuk buys electricity from Kurdish region
Kirkuk, Iraq (AFP) June 28, 2011
Iraq's oil-rich Kirkuk province has started buying electricity from a private supplier in autonomous Kurdistan, its governor said Tuesday, after a spat with Baghdad over power shortages. "We have a signed contract to solve the electricity problem in Kirkuk during the summer through buying 200 megawatts from a supplier in Kurdistan," said Rakan Saeed al-Juburi, the governor of Kirkuk. Jab ... read more

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