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Atimonan power station

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This article is part of the CoalSwarm coverage of the The Philippines and coal
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Atimonan power station is a 1200-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant proposed in Quezon Province, the Philippines.

Location

The map below shows the location of the project site, at Villa Ibaba, in Atimonan municipality, Quezon Province.

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Background on Project

June 2015: Church and community leaders speak at anti-coal rally in Atimonan

The Atimonan power station was originally proposed as a power plant fueled by liquified natural gas, but the project proponent, Meralco PowerGen, later changed the fuel to coal. In February 2015 the project was approved by the Quezon provincial legislative council, or Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP). According to a report in BusinessMirror, 11 SP members, including presiding officer Vice Gov. Sam Nantes, were hosted in Taiwan on January 28 and 29 by a Taiwanese construction company on an all-expenses paid trip to view similar power plants. Final approval of the project rests with the national government.[1] The project received an environmental compliance certificate from the Environment Department on Oct. 13, 2015. Completion was planned for 2018.[2]

In November 2015, it was reported that Meralco was still searching for partners for the project, which was estimated at US$2 billion (P94.41 billion), "with the partner likely Japanese or Korean and probably not Chinese," according to company chairman Manuel Pangilinan.[3] In February 2016, Pangilinan expressed uncertainty about what sort of energy mix was favored by the Philippine government: "Should we turn to coal plants... should we turn to gas plants? What are the limits:” He said the Atimonan plant would be a "big question mark" because of its large size.[4]

The certificate of land use conversion for the project was received in March 2016. Construction of the resettlement site is ongoing. In September 2016 Meralco said it was hoping to find a partner for its Atimonan project by first quarter 2017. The estimated cost has risen to US$3 billion.[5]

As of early 2017, Meralco was looking for a foreign partner for the project — "Japanese, Korean. Probably not Chinese." The firm took proposals from potential partners in April. The debt portion of the project (i.e., the capital needing to be raised) was $2 billion; the equity portion was $700 million, for a total of $2.7 billion. Permits were in hand, and resettlement of 50 of the 70 families living on the site had been finished. The supply contract was also still pending. Meralco executives stated that they hoped to bring on an EPC contractor in the second quarter of 2017, start construction in mid-2017, and finish the project by the end of 2021.[6][7] In December 2017 Meralco signed an agreement with ESB International (ESBI), a subsidiary of the Electricity Supply Board of Ireland, under which ESBI would operate and manage the plant for its first ten years, after which it would be operated by Meralco.[8] In February 2018 it was reported that the Energy Regulatory Commission was still considering the proposed Power Supply Agreement for Antimonan and could not give a date for approving or rejecting it.[9] In October 2018 Meralco announced that it would proceed with construction of Altimonan as a merchant plant that would sell power wholesale instead of through a Power Supply Agreement (PSA).[10]

Opposition

June 2015: Marchers protest proposed coal plant in Atimonan

In June 2015, more than 1,500 protesters, led by church leaders, staged a march and a prayer vigil in opposition to the project. The protest, which was named "Lakad-Dasal-Bibliya para sa Kalikasan (roughly translated: "Bible prayer walk for nature") began with a march in which participants circled the town, then stopped in front of the municipal hall before continuing to Our Lady of the Angels Parish Church. At the church, the protesters heard speeches, performed dances and songs, and then held an overnight vigil.[11]

In October 2017, activists rallied in front of the Bank of the Philippine Islands office in Ayala Triangle to protest its financing of the Atimonan coal plant. “Coal is not the answer to our country’s energy needs,” said Philippine Movement for Climate Justice Coordinator Ian Rivera. “Contrary to the coal industry’s persisting propaganda, coal is neither cheap nor clean. In fact, it has time and again been proven to be dirty, costly, and deadly.”[12]

October 2017: Activists protest in front of the Bank of the Philippine Islands

Project Details

  • Sponsor: Atimonan One Energy Inc. (A1E)
  • Parent company: Meralco PowerGen
  • Location: Barangay Villa Ibaba, Atimonan Municipality, Quezon Province, Philippines[1]
  • Coordinates: 14.0569, 121.86168 (exact)
  • Status: Permitted
  • Gross capacity: 1200 MW (2 x 600 MW)
  • Type: Ultra-supercritical
  • Projected in service: Unit 1: 2021; Unit 2: 2022
  • Coal type:
  • Coal source: Indonesia and/or Australia[13]
  • Source of financing:

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