Saturday, June 5, 2010

Pulangi 5 Seen To Solve Mindanao Power Crisis

By Ren Consul and Stan Salcedo

PROPONENTS of the 300 megawatt Pulangi Hydroelectric Project in Bukidnon claimed that the project would substantially lessen Mindanao's power shortage in 2014.

The Pulangi V Hydroelectric Project also claimed that social preparations for the project is already 80% done. 18 out of the 22 barangays that will be affected by the project have already given their endorsement. At this phase, the proponents are confident that construction of this vital power infrastructure shall start in 2011.

By 2014, Mindanao is projected to have a power shortage of about 500mw. The PMO of the Pulangi V HEP said in Tuesday's meeting that the said 300 MW hydropower is seen to decrease the shortage by more than half.

The proposed Pulangi V hydroelectric project (Pulangi HEP), which uses water pressure to generate electricity, is seen as a much better option to “dirty” power sources like coal and fossil-fuel according to Engr. Cerael C, Donggay, President of the Greenergy Dev't. Corporation.

Hydroelectric power as “renewable energy “ source will not also contribute to global warming since it is not emitting carbon gases to the atmosphere, according to him.

Romulo T. Baz, Manager of the Project Management Office of Pulangi V HEP said that their social program is very "responsive and sensitive to the issues raised by the affected communities."

He added that they are tediously consulting the communities especially the Lumads in the area to mitigate whatever social impact the project will bring.

The barangays that have yet to issue formal endorsement to the project are San Vicente in municipality of Dangcagan and Magsaysay, Pinamula and Sanipon in municipality of Kibawe. As of April 31 this year, there are already 18 barangays out of 22 from Bukidnon and North Cotabato provinces have already given their endorsements, these communities are situated where the project will be established.

These endorsements are necessary to end the project’s predevelopment phase, which is eyeing a closure this year, in order to proceed to begin its construction targeted next year that will end in 2016.

Donggay said that this development is a good indication that these communities are opening up for dialogues and negotiations to come up with a win-win solution.

“We are ready for the position to accept endorsement, maybe within two months,” he said.

He however expressed disappointment over the "exaggerated" claims of those opposing the project. "We do not understand why they are claiming that project will affect 78,000 hectares, when the total area of the 22 barangays to be affected is only about 30,000 hectares."

He said that the reservoir will only submerge 3,300-hectares and that most of these areas are sparsely populated.

If finished, the project will substantially provide much needed respite to the power crises in Mindanao. It could give about 60% of the overall power shortfall in the island.

Donggay also added that they are all pulling all resources with local and foreign investors to help out on the $900 million project.

The Pulangi V project started out as a feasibility study done by then National Power Corporation (Napocor), eyeing a potential Builld-Operate Transfer scheme for bidding in 1998. However, due to the Asian financial crisis, many Mindanao industries shut down, and the Mindanao demand for power dropped.

Napocor opted to leave the development of the Pulangi V hydro project to the private sector in the light of the passage of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira) in 2001.

Responding to the call of the Department of Energy (DoE) for the private sector to invest in power generation facilities, Greenergy Development Corporation, initiated and encouraged Electric Cooperatives to start securing future power by investing on power generation facilities.

The passage of RA 9513, known as the Renewable Energy (RE) Act of 2008 to promote development of renewable energy sources such as Hydro power, gave way for incentives towards private entities who will initiate in RE developments.

Greenergy is in full gear in the predevelopment of the Pulangi V hydro project together with the First Bukidnon Electric Cooperative (FIBECO) to address and avert the power crisis in Mindanao. PNN

*Published Frontpage, The Daily Corridor, June 2, 2010 / The Daily Corridor is a member of the Periodico News Network

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