Davao Therma South power station
|This article is part of the GEM.wiki coverage of the The Philippines and coal|
Davao power station or Therma South power station is a 300-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant in Davao del Sur Province, Philippines.
The map below shows the plant, in Binugao Barangay, Toril Subdistrict, Davao City, Davao del Sur Province.
Background on plant
Davao power station is a coal-fired power plant in Davao del Sur in the Philippines operated by Therma South, a subsidiary of listed AboitizPower Corporation. The 300-megawatt (MW) Phase I, consisting of two 150 MW units, began construction in 2012. Construction of the project was managed by Black & Veatch. Full commercial operation of unit 1 (150 MW) was reported on September 18, 2015.  Unit 2 (150 MW) began commercial operations on February 2, 2016.
In March 2014, the Davao City Council approved Phase II of the plant, two additional 172-MW coal-fired units, which would apparently expand total capacity to 645 MW. Phase II would go online in 2017-18. Aboitiz announced in November 2014 that it was moving ahead with Unit 3, expecting to receive the notice to proceed by March 2015.
However, as of November 2018 there has been no news on the units since the announcement, and they appear to have been cancelled.
Lobby for new station to meet power demand
Aboitiz Power, industry groups and the government have argued that a new coal-fired power station is required to meet growing demand for power and as a diversification strategy to help drought proof a grid heavily reliant on hydropower. The 982.1-megawatt Agus-Pulangi hydropower station currently supplies 55 percent of Mindanao's power but, the Sun-Star Manila reports, the project's generating capacity drops in summer due to lower water levels in Lanao Lake. Compounding this is the risk of drought. In 2010, a prolonged drought resulted in little generating capacity and half-day blackouts in some areas.
The forecast supply gap may reach 480 megawatts by 2014, according to the government. Aboitiz Power is already scheduled to commence work on a series of small hydro schemes for completion in late 2012. (The Tudaya 1 and Tudaya 2 projects will have a combined output of 13.6 megawatts. Two other hydro projects, the Sita project and the Simod project will have a combined output of 30 megawatts.
First vice president for Mindanao Affairs Aboitiz Power, Manuel Orig, stated that the proposed power station would employ 1,000 people during construction and 200 when operating. "We guarantee that the proposed power plant will not cause harmful effects on the water supply, the health of the communities and the environment," Orig said.
In October 2022, Davao expressed that they were "scouting" for new sources of renewable energy generation. Recent volatility in the coal market due to COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine had hastened their interest in reducing fossil fuels' share of their energy supply. However, AboitizPower Coal Group's assistant vice president noted that they are not yet ready to say goodbye to coal.
The power station, while supported by the local government and industry associations, was opposed by a coalition of residents, church groups and environmentalists.
In December 2011, after the city council of Davao City allowed for the construction of the Davao City plant to start, the Mayor, Sara Duterte, expressed her disappointment. Dr. Jean Lindo, a leader of the Network Opposed to Coal (No to Coal), also said that oppponents were planning to start street protests to block the plant project. At least 600 people, a majority of students from Assumption College of Davao, gathered outside the city council in protest, setting up a small Christmas tree with symbols of the ill effects of coal, such as pollution, displacement of communities, lead poisoning, and cases of mental retardation. They also gave the Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte a petition against the Davao City power plant, which contained 6,000 signatures. Hundreds of environmentalists also occupied the entrance of the Davao City’s Sanggunihang Panglunsod Building where the councilers met. A nun, named Sister Concepcion Gasang, was also reported to reject the Davao City power plant as a “monster that will destroy the country” and affirmed the values of ecozoic living and learning.
In March 2011, residents of Binugao village in the Toril district asked the city government to reject the proposal of Aboitiz Corp. to put a coal-fired power plant in the village. In early March, the city council approved on first reading the proposed project and forwarded it to the committee on energy, the committee on environment, the committee on health, and the committee on trade and commerce. The four committees were tasked to conduct public consultations on the proposal. Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has been very vocal about his endorsement of the proposed 300-megawatt coal-fired power plant, even before the conduct of any study. His daughter, Mayor Sara Duterte, said she was personally opposed to the project although she would go with the decision of the people.
Dr. Jean Lindo, one of the convenors of the No to Coal Davao, said Aboitiz’s statement that the project would not pollute the environment was “a total statement of fallacy and deception” and “There is no such thing as clean coal." A petition submitted to the city council by those opposing the project states that 10 coal-fired power plants have been set up all over the country. They said "We, as Filipinos and energy consumers, have a right to demand for clean, renewable and affordable sources of energy without compromising our right to a healthful environment and genuine development,” the petition said.
After two years of construction, by 2014, the Davao Therma South power plant near the Davao Gulf in Mindanao has been meet with opposition from environmental groups like Greenpeace and over church-backed organizations. They oppose the construction of the plant other concerns of human health and environment.
In 2014, locals in Davao City expressed fears over the wastes from the power plant washing into the Quinocol river nearby.
After President Aquino pushed for the Davao City power plant, representatives from the Network Opposed to Coal Coalition and Greenpeace Philippines opposed the production of power plants in 2016. They cited how the power plants would cause greenhouse gas emissions, even though the President attended the Paris Agreement discussions in support of limiting carbon emissions. The campaign coordinator of the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment also released a statement against the President’s push for the Aboitiz project of the Davoa City plant, calling it a result of “dirty politics.”
Women, particularly, were noted to protest significantly to the coal plant in Davao City. Opposers cited how issues related to women, such as abuse of women or risk of disease in women, are related to “dirty energy” and climate change. Many women joined the One Billion Rising Campaign, which is a campaign to end all forms of violence against women, including the production of coal and harmful emissions.
In a letter Joseph Trillana Gonzales confimed that the company planned to raise "an additional estimated P51 billion from lenders to fund the Subic and Davao coal projects which are projected to start within the year. This amount assumes the construction of a 600 MW Subic coal plant, instead of a 300 MW coal plant."
In October 2013, a financing agreement for units 1 and 2 was closed. BDO Unibank provided a US$555 million loan.
In 2011, Aboitiz Power planned to source coal from Indonesia and from the Philippine Semirara Mining Corp. for the plants.
Groups campaigning against the proposed power station
- People's Network for the Environment
- No to Coal Davao
- Sponsor: AboitizPower
- Location: Binugao Barangay, Davao City, Davao del Sur Province, Philippines
- Coordinates: 6.964444, 125.479722 (exact)
- Status: Operating (Unit 1); Operating (Unit 2); Cancelled (Units 3-4)
- Gross Capacity: 300 MW (Units 1 & 2: 150 MW)
- Type: Circulating fluidized bed
- In service: September 2015 (Unit 1), February 2016 (Unit 2)
- Coal Type: Subbituminous
- Coal Source:
- Source of financing: Units 1 and 2: US$555 million in debt from BDO Unibank
Articles and resources
- "Davao Power Plant (Davao City)" Wikimapia, accessed December 17, 2013.
- Black & Veatch completes EPC role on Philippine power plant, Black & Veatch, Jan. 9, 2015
- "Mindanao’s largest coal-fired power plant ‘on track to operate in 2015,’" Minda News, October 6 2013.
- "Coal plant in Davao in full operation starting today," Sun Star, September 17, 2015
- "AboitizPower declares full commercial operations of Davao baseload power plant," AboitizPower, February 3, 2016
- Gatdula, Donnabelle. Davao City council okays Aboitiz coal plant project. Philippine Star, 25 Mar. 2014.
- Flores, Alena Mae. Aboitiz expands 2 power projects. Manila Standard Today, 28 Nov. 2014.
- Virgil Lopez, "Aboitiz offers to build coal plant in Mindanao", Sun-Star Manila, April 30, 2011.
- "Davao Light looking for alternative power sources", Sun-Star Davao, October 6, 2022.
- “Street protests seen vs coal plant project in Davao”, Philippine Daily Inquirer, December 13, 2011.
- “Environmentalists protest against Abiotiz Coal Power Plant in Davao”, Bulatlat, December 15, 2011.
- “Coal will ‘destroy’ the Philippines”, Union of Catholic Asian News, January 5, 2011.
- Jeffrey Tupas, "Davao City residents oppose building of coal-fired power plant" Inquirer Politics, March 10, 2011.
- "Mindanao’s largest coal-fired power plant on track to operate in 2015", Minda News, October 6, 2013.
- “Sun, coal and Quinocol river”, Bulatlat, September 16, 2014.
- “Green groups see red over Davao coal plant”, Business Inquirer, January 9, 2016.
- “Environmental criminals and coal”, Inquirer, January 16, 2016.
- “’One Billion Rising’ fights coal”, Inquirer, Febraury 21, 2016.
- Joseph Trillana Gonzales, Aboitiz Power Company Secretary, "Clarification to March 28, 2011 Philippine Daily Inquirer news article", Letter to the Philippine Stock Exchange, March 28, 2011.
- "Preview of Therma South Davao Coal Fired Power Project (300MW) | Transaction | IJGlobal". ijglobal.com. Retrieved 2020-11-24.
- Robert Gonzaga, "Environmentalists oppose Subic coal-fired plant" Inquirer News, May 23, 2011.
- "Approved Coal Plants in the last two years," Greenpeace, accessed December 2013
- "Binugao power station," wikimapia, accessed Dec 2013.