GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 11 Feb) – Renewable energy firm Euro Hydro Power (Asia) Holdings, Inc. is investing around P50 million for the rehabilitation and recommissioning of a mothballed mini hydro power plant in nearby Koronadal City.
Ignacio Guinid Jr., Euro Hydro officer-in-charge and technical services manager, said Monday they are targeting to start by June the rehabilitation works on the mini hydro power plant located in Sitio Upper Guadalupe of Barangay Carpenter Hill in Koronadal City, in partnership with the local government and the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) Region 12.
He said the company signed earlier this month a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the city government of Koronadal and NIA-12 for the rehabilitation and operation of the power facility.
Guinid said they are processing the required permits with the Department of Energy (DoE) and other government agencies to facilitate the plant’s rehabilitation.
“If everything goes well, as planned, we might be able to start the plant’s operations by January 2014 or even earlier,” he said.
The mini hydro power plant, which has a capacity of 600 kilowatts (kW), was constructed by the national government in 1971 and became fully operational in 1974.
But the plant’s operations were later hampered by the heavy siltation on the dam where it was installed, forcing its shutdown in 1981.
The Aboitiz-owned Davao Light and Power Company rehabilitated the facility in 1984 and took over its operations a year later until its contract expired in 1991.
NIA Region 12 assumed the plant’s operations and maintenance from 1991 to 1997 but eventually shelved the project.
Guinid said the rehabilitation works will mainly involve the reconstruction and overhaul of the plant’s structure, facilities as well as the area’s irrigation dam.
As cited in the MOA, he said Euro Hydro will handle all maintenance and operational aspects of the mini hydro power plant.
Once operational, Guinid said the facility is expected to generate around 500 to 600 kW of power that will be embedded with the South Cotabato I Electric Cooperative’s (Socoteco I) system.
He said the cost of the power supplies that will be generated by the plant would be minimal due to its proximity to the area.
“The plant’s capacity may not be that significant but it will eventually help reduce the area’s power deficit,” Guinid said.
He was referring to the three to five megawatts (MW) of power that is usually cut off by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) from the area’s systems whenever Mindanao’s power supply goes critical.
Last year, Socoteco I was forced to implement a series of one to two hours of rotating brownouts due to the load shedding scheme imposed by the NGCP as a result of the increase in the island’s power deficit.
The power shortage, which reached as high as 370 MW, was caused by the declining capacity of the National Power Corporation’s hydropower plants in Bukidnon and Lanao del Norte as well as the maintenance shutdown implemented by various privately-owned power plants.
Meantime, aside from the rehabilitation of the mini hydro power plant in Koronadal City, Guinid said the company is working on the construction of a hydro power facility in Lake Sebu town in South Cotabato through a tie-up with Socoteco I.
In Mindanao, Euro Hydro has seven hydro power plant projects that have potential capacities of one megawatt (MW) each.
The company earlier said it has already complied with the requirements for the pre-development stages and have paid the prescribed application and processing fees for their proposed power projects.
Aside from South Cotabato, Euro Hydro is also setting up hydro power plants in Iligan City and Kapai in Lanao del Norte, Calamba in Misamis Occidental, New Bataan in Compostela Valley and in Alamada in North Cotabato. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)