Cebu City gets another offer for waste-to-energy facility

ANOTHER private international firm has expressed interest in building a waste-to-energy (WTE) facility in Cebu City, but this time at a greater generation capacity of 50 megawatts of renewable energy.

Australian-based company Corinthian Energy Resources submitted an unsolicited proposal to the Cebu City Government last Oct. 10 for the project.

During the City Council’s regular session Wednesday, Nov. 9, the councilors carried the unsolicited proposal and moved to refer it to the office of Mayor Michael Rama for further evaluation of the project.

The private firm said in its letter that the proposed facility can recover solid waste from existing landfill sites and process fresh waste generated in the city.

Aside from generating electricity, the firm said the project is also capable of producing “solid recovered fuel” and converting this to synthetic gas.

As stated also in the proposal, the firm is considering as a “potential revenue stream” the importation of waste from Third World countries that can also be processed in its facility.

Councilor Nestor Archival proposed to invite representatives from the firm to discuss the technology that will be used to determine its possible effects on the environment and the well-being of the public.

Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia said the firm will only disclose the type of technology and not the specifics of the unsolicited proposal since it must pass through the office of the mayor first.

The Sangguniang Panlungsod secretary scheduled the executive session with the attendance of the private firm in the first week of January 2023.

Last Sept. 22, Rama signed the notice of award to New Sky Energy Philippines Inc. for the construction of a P4.8 billion facility that can process 800 tons of garbage per day to generate electricity.

This WTE facility is expected to generate 18 megawatts of electric power.

The company is given one year to acquire the land and secure all the permits for the project. After a year, the company will spend another two years on the construction of the infrastructure, thus making the WTE facility operational in 2025.

The approval of the City Government of this kind of waste facility has been opposed by environment conservation groups that say that its use of incineration facilities can have a negative impact not only on the environment but also on the public’s health.

Councilor Joel Garganera, chairman of the committee on environment, has defended WTE facilities, saying incineration as a mode of waste disposal is not absolutely prohibited by law.

What is prohibited, he said in March, is only those burning processes that emit poisonous and toxic fumes.