CAR as power exporter seen

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Sunday, June 15, 2014

THE Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) has so much water that it can be an electricity exporter, an expert said last Friday.

"You are so much blessed with hydro resources, I encourage you to build it with a perspective of a non-profit so that you can reduce the price of electricity," said Rowaldo del Mundo of the National Engineering Center in a forum, stressing the region's rivers and watersheds can be converted into hydro-power plants which can be connected to the distribution system of electric cooperatives.

"It will reduce the price of electricity by P1/kWh dahil nasa loob (of the electric cooperative) instead na nasa labas," he told Sun.Star Baguio.


He thinks there can be more hydro-power plants with a generation capacity of up to 20 megawatts which can be constructed in CAR.

He said autonomy will enable the legislators of the region to make policies related to electricity supply and to decide on how to utilize its power resources that will best benefit the region.

While the Department of Energy can give service contracts and other general policies for the country, the policies cannot interfere with the local policies in CAR.

If that happens, del Mundo said he will lend advice on how to come up with appropriate designs.

Beneco legal counsel Delmar Cariño said as of July 2013, there were several proposed mini hydro-power plant projects in CAR including 18 in Benguet; 12 in Mt. Province; 8 in Ifugao; 5 in Kalinga; and 1 in Apayao.

Beneco with stakeholders and representatives of the Development Bank of the Philippines formally signed the Memorandum of Agreement for the 3 MW Man-asok mini hydroelectric power plant in Buguias on May 2.

Beneco general manager Gerardo Versoza with village chiefs and elders of the 5 affected Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs) and Indigenous Peoples Organization (IPO) at Barangays Amgaleyguey, Lengaon, Bacolungan Sur, Barangay Sebang and Poblacion with the Buguias AncestraL Domain Alternative for Native Governance (Badang) signed papers approving the project.

The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) was present to oversee the event and led the signing of the MOA after a successful Free Prior and Informed Consent.

The DBP bankrolled the project, which is a first in the Cordilleras, totaling P483 M. The 3MW plant completed feasibility studies and is projected to have an annual average power generation of 15 million kilowatt-hours (kWh).

The five affected barangays’ share will be P 0.0667 per kWh produced in every year of power generation for the first 10 years of the plant’s operation.

Another P0.2667 per kWh will be given each area in every year of power generation for the remaining years of its operation.

Badang’s share will be P0.0175 per kWh for the first five years; P0.0250 per kWh on the sixth to 10th year; P0.0325 per kWh on the 11th to 15th year; P0.0400 per kWh on the remaining years.

Previously, Vezosa said hydropower plants are the only way for the cooperative to buy less power from Independent Power Producers and the National Power Corporation, thus lowering cost for consumers here.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on June 16, 2014.

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