P10-B Hydropower Projects for Davao Soon

Mar. 14, 2007

Davao City (10 March) — Hydropower projects worth at least P10 billion will be put up soon and is expected to provide the power needs of Davao Light and Power Company.

The Hedcor Inc. a wholly owned subsidiary of Aboitiz Equity Ventures will be putting up the P5-billion Sibulan Hydropower project which would generate 42.5 Megawatts of electricity that is expected to supply 32% of the present power needs of Davao Light.

According to Rene Ronquillo President of Hedcor, they are targeting that the construction of the power project will commence this month and that operations would start by August 2009.

The hydropower project involves the construction of two power plants and small dams called weirs utilizing run-of-river for the generation of its power, hence there is no need to impound the rivers waters.

Sibulan river particularly its downstream areas are popular tourism attractions of Santa Cruz, Davao del Sur, famed for its river tubing and other white water activities.

Ronquillo said that they will be rehabilitating about 4.15 kilometers of existing roads and will be opening 10.13 kilometers of new roads as the project site is a 12-hour hike from the nearest passable road. He stressed that HEDCOR will be taking care of the critical environment of which the plant is located as he said that hydropower itself is a statement of the companys dedication in achieving a cleaner environment.

With hydropower the plant project is expected to displace about 42 million kilos of Carbon Dioxide per year which would have been the product if a fossil fuel plant of the same capacity would be constructed.

The community itself will be benefited from the project which includes taxes and community revenues, in which the company waived its 0% Real Property Tax incentive, the project will prioritized local employment in its construction and operations stage, it will provide electricity to its still powerless host communities, it is also supporting education, public health and community development in the barangays plus the projects waterworks can be tapped by the community for irrigation.

Meanwhile, Hedcor is also planning to build the Tamugan Hydro Power project which will cost another P5-billion and would generate 30.5 megawatts for Davao Light.

Ronquillo plans to start the project by 2008 so that it will be operational by 2010. The project will include the construction of three power plants, weirs and impounding basins and a diversion tunnel which will divert some of the water from Talomo to Tamugan River. He said that aside from the benefits which will be enjoyed by the host community, the diversion tunnel constructed will reduce the incidence of flashfloods from the two rivers.

Hedcor is the countrys second biggest producer of hydroelectricity next only to Napocor. It traces its roots in 1972 in Davao City when it was tasked to operate the Talomo hydro-power plants, since then it has expanded with successful projects in Benguet and Ilocos Sur building and operating some of the countrys most successful hydropower plants.

Hedcors investment was in response to Davao Lights need for additional power which the National Power Corporation (Napocor) can no longer provide. Despite being the center of business and trade n Mindanao, Southern Mindanao is only allocated about 276 megawatts or only 18% of the 1,515 MW Mindanao Grid and with the areas unprecedented growth Davao Light needs more power to satisfy its ever-growing number of consumers. (PIA XI)

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