Development, Socio-Economic and Environmental Impacts of the IBEC Biomass Power Plant Project
The IBEC biomass power plant project is expected to provide significant developmental, socio-economic and environmental impact not only to the host barangay but also to the Municipality of Alicia as well as the entire province of Isabela, through a confluence of factors and benefits to the populace. These are:
- Boost to the local economy. The construction and establishment of a 20-MW power plant in Alicia, Isabela definitely provides a huge push towards the Municipality’s economic development. The existence of a power plant will be the catalyst in attracting a number of locators or investors searching for a place that can provide reliable source of electricity for their operations. Consequently, the increase in the number of investors in a locality adds income to its coffers in the form of local taxes, taxes that could be used to improve the basic services for its citizens.
- Creation of new employment opportunities. Jobs will be generated during the construction and operation phases of the power plant project. An estimated 80 workers either from the host barangay and municipality as well as its surrounding communities will be hired directly or through sub-contracts as construction workers. Additionally, the company will employ around 39 permanent employees for the power plant’s operation and maintenance.
- Capacity building and technology transfer. The equipment and technology supplier will deploy experts at the power plant for at least one (1) year after the plant’s commissioning to train the power plant staff and provide sound advice on trouble-shooting and all the other relevant aspects of the plant’s operations.
- Stabilization of the grid. The IBEC power plant provides baseload power that it may offer to the National Grid. Compared to the other renewable energy sources like wind and solar, this biomass power plant will not be producing intermittent power but rather a stable source of electricity, thus reducing energy shortfalls.
- Foreign exchange savings and fossil fuel displacement. The utilization of indigenous fuel as feedstock for the power plant, specifically rice husks, will displace the use of coal and oil, mostly imported fuel that requires huge amounts of foreign currency to purchase. As more companies venture into renewable energy utilization for power production as capacity additions to the grid, eventually, electricity generated by fossil-fired power plants will imminently be displaced.
- Environmentally-benign technology. The IBEC power plant mitigates climate change and abates greenhouse gas emissions by specifically using rice husks as feedstock. Normally, rice husks in the province of Isabela are delivered to rot at several open dumpsites which may cause methane. Likewise, the practice of open field burning is still prevalent which causes carbon dioxide emissions. Both methane and carbon dioxide emissions are harmful to the people’s health.
- Complies with local and international emission and water standards. The project strictly conforms with local and international environmental standards. For its biomass power plant project, IBEC has secured the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) from the Environmental Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (EMB-DENR) on December 6, 2012. The CO2 emission factor avoided from the power plant project’s operation is computed at 58,780 tons of CO2 per year.