Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Clean and Cheap Solution to Mindanao Power Crises Pulangi V Hydro Project On Track

KITAOTAO, BUKIDNON – The regular rotating brown-outs may be over, El Nino droughts may have gone, but the threats of more severe power shortage and even climate change induced floods still hangs over our heads.

The proponents of the Pulangi V Hydro Electric Plant (HEP) project in Bukidnon hopes that the project which is expected to start construction in 2011 will contribute to the long-term solution to the power shortage being experienced in Mindanao.

Designed to generate 300 mw of power into the Mindanao power system or1,256 giga watt hours of cheap renewable energy nationwide, the Pulangi V HEP will provide as much as 60% of the projected power shortage in Mindanao in 2014 and onwards. Energy demand forecasts by the Dept. of Energy (DoE) project a 500mw shortfall in 2014 if no new power plants are constructed.

“There are many short-term and medium projects in the pipeline, but what makes Pulangi V HEP different is that it is renewable energy, it will generate very cheap power and its project proponents have integrated social and environmental safeguards as early as the project pre-development stage,” said Engr. Cerael Donggay, Chief Executive Officer of Greenergy Development Corporation.

Donggay said that despite minimal funding, the pre-development phase is going very smoothly that many foreign and local investors are strengthening commitments to fund this $300million project in the near future.

Located in the heart of Mindanao island, the Pulangi River stretches a 320km distance and is considered the second largest river system in the Philippines. It is the longest river in Bukidnon and crosses a majority of its cities and municipalities.

“Pulangi River is one of the largest rivers in the Philippines and luckily, it is situated in Mindanao. The power that can be harnessed from this great river thru Pulangi V Hydro, is a form of ‘Gold’ for Mindanaoans. It is our golden ticket to social and economic progress,” said Donggay.

Donggay is a former vice president of the National Power Corporation and one of the pioneers in large-scale renewable energy generation in the Philippines as one of the founders of Northwind that now operates the country’s first wind farm in Ilocos Norte in Northern Philippines.

According to research released by the Pulangi V Management Team in March 2010, Pulangi V Hydro will avoid burning 1,882,500 barrels of fuel oil for power and help save the Philippines P.10.95 BILLION per year.

Engr. Raul Alkuino, President of the First Bukidnon Cooperative (Fibeco) said that the pre-development stage of the project is progressing very well. Of the 22 communities affected, 18 have already given their support. These communities are in Bukidnon towns of Kitaotao, Kibawe, Dangcagan and Damulog, and Roxas in North Cotabato. In the next one or two months, we shall be able to get 100 percent approval.

Already, newly elected Bukidnon Governor Alex Calingasan registered his support to the project.

Damulog Mayor Romy Tiongco said that he is very supportive of the project on one condition that the concerns of the affected lumads shall be addressed.

“So far, I have seen the sincerity of the project proponents in addressing the concerns of the affected communities,” added Tiongco, a former priest and social activist.

Alkuino said that they are addressing the “minutest details” as far as social and environmental impact of the project is concerned.

Butch Baz, manager of the Project Management Office said that since they started the pre-development stage of the project, they have already conducted more than 200 community consultations.

Donggay said that with the pre-development phase going smoothly, many foreign and local investors have signified their interest in the project.

He said that with the urgency of the power problem in Mindanao, the project could be fast-tracked to four years. Hydro electric plants usually take five years to construct.

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