Faced with a high cost, unreliable, and 100 percent-fossil-fuel-dependent electricity and the rapid growth of waste as population, tourism and development growth in his city, Puerto Princesa City Mayor Lucilo Bayron decided to pursue a novel and sustainable solid waste management system that converts waste to energy, thereby solving two problems at the same time.
Solid waste management and power generation used to be concerns that were poles apart and completely unrelated, but because of innovative technology, they had become interconnected.
Adopting the Westinghouse thermalgasification technology that is already in use in Japan and in many European countries, Austworks Corp., in joint venture with the City Government of Puerto Princesa, will be putting up a P2.1-billion waste-to-energy plant at the city’s Sta. Lourdes Sanitary Landfill.
Using the city’s 110 MT/day municipal waste as feedstock, the plant will generate some 5.5 MW electricity. The generating capacity will increase as the volume of the city’s solid waste increases.
Austworks will cap the existing sanitary landfill once the project becomes operational and will add on a methane harvesting facility to capture the methane gas inherent in landfills, thereby preventing it from polluting the atmosphere, and generate additional power as well.
“Doing away with the need to construct another expensive sanitary landfill; earning unexpected income of up to P20M/year as its share from project revenue;the city will save P40M annually which is its budget allocation for solid waste collectionsince Austworks will do the actual waste collection themselves; and unlike most renewable energies that are intermittent, this project will provide the first base-load renewable energy in the province that is very much competitive in terms of reliability, sustainability and low- generation cost—these are the benefits that Puerto Princesa stands to gain from this trailblazing technology,” Mayor Bayron said.
After full and faithful compliance with City Ordinance No. 702,“An Ordinance Pursuing A Joint Venture (JV) Approach Towards Development, Providing For The Procedure In Selecting The JV Private Sector Partner And Regulation Of The JV Activity, And Instituting Accountability Mechanism,” the City Government and Austworks Corporation signed on August 2016 a Joint Venture Agreement for the waste-to-energy project.
The project then got a Certificate of Approval from the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD); Environmental Clearance Certificate (ECC) from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR); and an Endorsement of the selected technology from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
Based on its JVA with the City Government, Austworks will start preparation of the Detailed Engineering and Design (DED) within thirty (30) calendar days from the signing of the DOE Operating Contract. Construction shall commence within fifteen (15) calendar days from approval of the DED by the Department of Energy.
“We were inspired to pursue this project by no less than President Rodrigo Roa Duterte himself who endorsed this waste-to-energy project as aninnovative mode of solid waste disposalin his first State of the Nation Address. And we are very thankful to DOE Secretary Cusi for having facilitated and signed the necessary Operating Contract,” Mayor Bayronadded.
Secretary Cusi congratulated Mayor Bayron for having pioneered in his city the country’s first thermal gasification waste-to-energy project. “The entire country should benefit from this new technology,” Cusi said.
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