Group builds micro-hydropower plant in T’boli village

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/17 September) – Some 300 mostly T’boli households in Lake Sebu town in South Cotabato are seen to benefit from a clean energy source once the construction of a micro-hydroelectric power plant in their area is completed.

Municipal officials and representatives of non-government organizations and foreign funding institutions yesterday held a groundbreaking ceremony for a 35-kilowatt hydroelectric plant in Sitio Lobo, Barangay Ned.

Nazario Cacayan, executive director of the Yamog Renewable Energy Development Group, said the construction of the power plant is expected to be completed by December.

Yamog is the implementing NGO of the project.

Sitio Lobo is the farthest village in Lake Sebu and can be reached by habal-habal (single motorcycles for hire) and four-wheel drive vehicles.

It is about 45 kilometers away from the nearest power source provided by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).

Cacayan said the project would enhance education and promote the local economy.

Schools and roads leading to Sitio Lobo would also be provided with lighting facilities.

Currently, Cacayan said, the community is using diesel-based generators, which are expensive because of high the cost of maintenance and operations.

The plant in Sitio Lobo is the second micro-hydroelectric power plant that Yamog has installed in Lake Sebu. The first was a 10-kilowatt plant built in 2005 in Sitio Tablo, Barangay Lemdalag, which benefited some 200 T’bolis.

Using power plant has a positive impact on the environment, said Cagayan.

“The environmental benefits include reduction of greenhouse gases to a total of 158 tons of carbon dioxide annually. Watershed protection would also be enhanced through a community-based watershed management,” he explained.

The project is being implemented in partnership with Sitio Lobo residents as well as barangay and municipal officials.

Among the funders are Misereor and SEACOLOGY. (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)