Mini-hydro plant planned in Lake Sebu

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/20 March) – Renewable energy firm Euro Hydro Power (Asia) Holdings Inc. is set to launch a pre-feasibility study for its planned 5-megawatt (MW) mini-hydro power plant in Lake Sebu town in South Cotabato.

Engr. Santiago Tudio, general manager of South Cotabato I Electric Cooperative (Socoteco I), said the company has already sought clearance from the Lake Sebu municipal government to pursue with the project’s pre-feasibility study, which will mainly look into its environmental impact and water utilization.

Socoteco I earlier forged a partnership with the power producer for the construction of a 5 MW hydropower plant within the famed seven waterfalls of Lake Sebu.

“The pre-feasibility study is scheduled to begin in a few weeks and we’re looking forward to it since it would determine the viability and the future of this project,” Tudio said in a radio interview.

Tudio said the pre-feasibility study, which was initially scheduled last year, was delayed after Euro Hydro found out earlier that the Department of Energy (DoE) had issued a service contract over the proposed project area to another company.

He said the DoE earlier awarded the contract to Renouvel Development Corporation, which is reportedly owned by former National Power Corp. executives, but the latter supposedly failed to pursue the project due to funding problems.

Renouvel’s contract, which was issued for its proposed 21-MW Lanon Hydroelectric Power Project, was reportedly cancelled recently by the DoE, he said.

Citing initial details of the Lake Sebu hydropower project’s pre-feasibility study, Tudio said Euro Hydro will initially explore the viability of utilizing the third of the town’s seven waterfalls as its main site.

He said the company is looking at constructing a small impounding structure at waterfall no. 3 to allow it to generate 5 MW of power.

“We will later present the results of the pre-feasibility study to the municipal government, provincial government of South Cotabato, DoE and other concerned agencies for the issuance of further clearances related with the project’s implementation,” he said.

Should the project eventually become operational, Tudio said the 5-MW power supply that it would generate will be enough to cover for the requirements of the entire Lake Sebu and nearby Surallah town.

“If we will mix it with the other power supplies we purchase from other providers, it will reduce the overall costs of power that we supply to our consumers in the entire Socoteco I service area,” he said.

Socoteco I covers Lutayan town in Sultan Kudarat, the city of Koronadal and the municipalities of Tampakan, Tantangan, Banga, Norala, Surallah, T’boli, Sto. Niño and Lake Sebu in South Cotabato.

Euro Hydro is currently pursuing seven hydro power plant projects in Mindanao that have potential capacities of 1 MW each.

The company 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, North Cotabato.

The company has yet to disclose its planned investments for the Lake Sebu project but Tudio earlier said the development costs for a hydropower plant in the area may reach P1 billion per MW or a total of P5 billion for a 5-MW facility.(Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)