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Operation of 2 Hydropower Plants in Catanduanes Now in Full Swing

LEGAZPI CITY, March 10 (PIA) — Two hydro power plants are now fully operational and are supplying the entire island province of Catanduanes with 3.6 megawatts (MW) of clean and renewable energy.

The two hydro facilities operated and owned by the Sunwest Water and Electric Co. Inc. (Suweco), an independent power producer (IPP), are among the three hydro power plants included in the pipeline projects that Suweco will put up in Catanduanes.

Suweco, a Bicolano-owned IPP, has put up the Hitoma power facility in Barangay Obi in Caramoran town with a rated capacity of 1.5 MW and the Solong plant in San Miguel town with a rated capacity of 2.1 MW.

The Hitoma plant has been operational since October last year while the Solong became in operation in January this year.

The third hydro power plant is being constructed in an upland village in San Miguel town in Catanduanes.

With an investment of P800 million, the two hydro power plants supply power to the First Catanduanes Electric Cooperative (Ficelco) with a total of 3.6 MW.

This cheap, environment friendly and renewable energy reinforces the electricity supplied by the diesel-powered generators of the National Power Corp. (NPC).

Aside from the two Suweco hydro power plants, the island’s generating system is composed of two diesel power plants in the towns of Bato and Viga, the Balongbong hydro power plant operated by the NPC, Power Barge 110, four mobile gensets rented from Monark and the 3.6-MW bunker fuel genset operated by the private company Catanduanes Power Generation Inc.

With the operationalization of the two hydro plants and with other power generation suppliers, it would give Ficelco, the only power distributor in the province and its 35,000 consumers a sustained, reliable, and clean energy supply.

Ficelco data indicate that some 315 villages in all 12 towns in Catanduanes are fully energized, but these areas are not fully supplied with energy because of the deficient power generation facilities.

The full operation of the hydro power plants would help meet the island’s 6.5-MW power demand, Suweco president Jose Sylvestre Natividad said.

He said the cost of power from the hydro plants is cheaper than those from the ones being powered by bunker or fossil fuel, aside for being an environment friendly generating facility as these utilize water and and convert it to energy.

Suweco envisions a sustainable and reliable power supply to the province as the company believes that energy is a catalyst for any economic activity.

Elizaldy Co, board chair of the Sunwest Group of Campanies, said Suweco’s hydropower plants will help lessen the national government’s spending on missionary electrification by P80 million to P100 million a year.

The impact would be felt in terms of investments thus increasing employment generation while at the same time protecting the environment.

With the present energy potential, Catanduanes, a rich province for its natural resources, is now bullish in inviting prospective investors to engage in business ventures in field of tourism, agriculture, and manufacturing, Co said.

Natividad said hydro is a renewable energy thus it helps protect the environment against global warming because “you need to plant trees to sustain the hydro plant and it gives livelihood to the communities by employing people to reforest the area.” (MALoterte,PIA Albay)

Source: PIA Press Release
Thursday, March 10, 2011

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