Ifugao power plant of nat’l value

RAMON, Isabela– The Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Energy Investment Coordinating Council (EICC) has certified SN Aboitiz Power’s (SNAP’s) 390 megawatts (MW) Alimit hydroelectric power plant that involves four towns in Ifugao province as an energy project of national significance.
This is “considering the potential amount of investment and the impact of the project to the renewable energy sector as well as the energy security of the grid,” lawyer Mike Hosillos, vice president and chief corporate services officer of SN Aboitiz Power, told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Thursday.
He said the government has committed to prioritizing the processing of the needed permits and licenses so that the Alimit project can proceed as soon as possible.
All four Ifugao towns– Lamut, Lagawe, Mayoyao, and Aguinaldo– gave their consent for the project to proceed which is contained in a resolution of the legislative body, and signed the framework condition that embodies the terms and conditions of the endorsement and the consent.
The framework agreement outlines the cooperation, collaboration, and obligations between and among SNAP as project proponent and the municipalities as hosts during the development and operation phase of the project.
Hosillos said they are now in the final part of the feasibility stage of the project and important permits have been obtained.
“We have secured the most significant permits like the ECC (environmental compliance certificate), the FPIC (free prior and informed consent) process is completed and is subject to the review of the NCIP (National Commission on Indigenous Peoples), so that after they review, the certification pre-condition can be issued to us. We have also secured the consent of all the LGUs,” Hosillos said.
The company is still finalizing some of the drawings and the cost estimates and once completed, will be submitted for the consideration of board of directors of SN Aboitiz Power, for approval.
Once the board approves the capital investment for the project, the pre-construction activities will already start but will require more permits and licenses, land acquisition, preparation of access roads and similar pre-mobilization activities and hiring of the main contractors.
The company hopes to start the construction by late 2021 with the project to be operational in five years.
“This is called the greenfield project where you start building from the ground up.
This will entail a lot of excavation, construction activities, the building of new roads, the building of new facilities,” Hosillos said.
The first phase of the project entails the construction of the 120-megawatt Alimit Plant and the 20-MW Olilicon Plant. The capital outlay for this phase is expected to be between USD450 to USD550 million. The second phase of the complex includes the 250-MW Alimit pumped-storage facility.
In October last year, the provincial government and the three towns that initially signed the framework agreement have thanked their inclusion in the major project that will bring huge benefits to their people and the whole of Ifugao.
The power plants will be located on the lower portion of the Alimit River and the Ibulao River, two tributaries of the bigger Magat River from Nueva Vizcaya.
The SNAP started proposing the project as early as eight years ago, but only received all the LGU endorsements April this year.
The province, particularly Aguinaldo town partly hosts the Magat hydropower plant that is also bounded by Isabela, allowing the province to get a measly share from the operation of the 380MW hydropower plant, one of the biggest hydro-electric facilities in Luzon.
During the switch on ceremony of the pilot floating solar power plant in Magat dam, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said the government is working hard to generate additional power for the country’s development needs.
Cusi said that as of last week, the country’s power demand peaked to 11,000 MW, an indication of the need to produce more energy for the developmental needs of the country.
“An improving economy requires an increase in electricity supply and that is what the government is doing, increasing the capacity,” Cusi said.** PNA

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