DAVAO CITY — Euro Power (Asia) Holdings, Inc., a subsidiary of Indophil Asia Equities, Inc., broke ground yesterday for its P384-million mini hydroelectric power plant (MHEP) in New Bataan, Compostela Valley.
The plant’s 2.4-megawatt (MW) capacity is committed to Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative, Inc., which serves parts of the provinces of Compostela Valley and Davao del Norte, according to Romeo M. Montenegro, public affairs and investment promotions head of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA).
“It is the third renewable energy project in Mindanao this year,” Mr. Montenegro pointed out, with the two others in Bukidnon, undertaken by Aboitiz Power Corp. (AboitizPower) subsidiary Hedcor, Inc., also recently starting construction.
Mr. Montenegro, in an interview with BusinessWorld, said the Euro Power project, scheduled for completion in three years, is part of the 290 renewable energy applications that were submitted to the One Stop Facilitation and Monitoring Center set up by MinDA with the Department of Energy (DoE) and the and the United States Agency for International Development.
DoE has granted 21 hydropower service contracts to Euro Power for the development of eight projects involving 18 rivers around the country.
The company has also paid the processing fees for 59 other potential projects with a combined output of 273 MW. It also has applications under evaluation for 48 sites that could generate an additional 219 MW.
Of the proposed projects, Euro Power has conducted detailed feasibility studies and engineering design for eight: the 4-MW Ruparan MHEP in Digos City, Davao del Sur; the 0.6-MW Marbel MHEP in Koronadal City, South Cotabato; the 4.73-MW Sawanga project in Bukidnon; the 17.8-MW Bayug project in Iligan City; the 9-MW Lake Sebu project in South Cotabato; the 2.8-MW Alamada project in North Cotabato; the 3.6-MW Titunod project in Lanao del Norte; and the 5.7-MW Polandoc project in Zamboanga del Norte.
To ensure the completion of approved renewable energy projects, said Mr. Montenegro, the DoE is implementing a “use it or lose it” policy in which companies are required to submit a substantive development report every year until operation.
MinDA is aiming to attain a balanced power mix in Mindanao by 2030 with the completion of renewable energy facilities alongside under-construction fossil-fuel plants that are expected to start operating within the next three years.
“We need to balance our power mix because of the environmental impact,” said Mr. Montenegro said.
To achieve the 2030 target, Mr. Montenegro said the construction of renewable energy projects must start by 2025 at the latest.
At present, the power mix in Mindanao is 60-40 in favor of hydroenergy as the main sources are the two government-run hydroelectric complexes in Lanao del Sur and Bukidnon.
However, within the next three years, the southern island’s power source will be tilted in favor of fossil fuels at 70-30 with the opening of several new plants, starting this year with the first 150-MW unit of the 645-MW coal-fired plant of Therma South, Inc., an AboitizPower subsidiary.
Other companies with ongoing coal-fired projects are: the Alcantara group’s Sarangani Energy Corp. in Sarangani (210 MW), San Miguel Global Power Holdings, Inc. in Davao del Sur (900 MW), the Ayala-led GNPower Kauswagan Ltd. Co. in Lanao del Norte (540 MW), and the Gotianun-led FDC Misamis Power Corp. in Misamis Oriental (405 MW).
Aside from these coal-fired plants, other companies have also recently built diesel-fired power plants, among them the 20-MW facility of Peakpower Energy, Inc. in General Santos City.
Some electric distribution cooperatives have also embedded modular generation sets to help sustain the power supply when the main grid malfunctions.