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Power Investors Invest in Bohol
« on: October 11, 2012, 09:36:13 pm »
By Bingo P. Dejaresco III

Bohol's vibrant economy spurred by tourism, Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) money and agriculture is attracting some of the leading power investors to build power plants in Bohol.

After the first proposal involving the P 1.3-billion Cantakoy project (8 MW) of the huge Ayala Corporation comes this fresh interest to yet use Bohol's indigenous, renewable source- water power -to augment the estimated 103 Megawatt(MW) existing power capacity in the province.

The Sun West Water and Power Company (Suweco) led by Bicol energy magnates aims at constructing two hydropower plants in two phases in the next three to four years that can create a new 12.5 MW facility at an estimated cost of close to P2-billion.

The two power investments will add about 20.5 MW power to Bohol or increase its current capacity by more than 20%.

An independent industry estimate places the cost of one MW power at US$ 2-million (about P84 million) if constructed using an existing dam while that without a dam yet would be a ceiling of about US$ 4-million (P164-million) per kilowatt hour.

The first Suweco project which has filed for a COE (Certificate of Endorsement) with the DOE (Department of Energy) that leads to a COC (Certificate of Compliance) for the project to begin.

TWO PROJECTS

The first smaller SUWECO project (located near San Miguel and Ubay towns) would produce 2.5 MW harnessing the power of the existing Bayongan dam (a project reeking with controversy in the past) at a cost of about P300 million. The power will be distributed by feeding to the Boheco lines, per Suweco's study, for energy distribution.

"The project can be finished in about 18 months from project start" according to the president of Suweco Jose Silvestre "Sly" Natividad, an ex seminarian turned engineer- who declared categorically that they will go through all the procedures needed to get the project through.

That calls to mind the delayed Cantakoy project which was riddled with questions on its social preparation, LGU consultation, and environmental requisites. A group of U.P scientists and economists posed some objections to the project. Ayala Corporation, however, hopes to remedy all the holes in the proposal and continue the project since they are poised to launch P100-billion of their money for power generation in the nation for the next five years.

Natividad said that Suweco 's philosophy is always to bring prosperity and advancement to the residents in the relevant area of power development and that they will cooperate with all LGUs to bring the project to completion. He said they will also submit their intentions to the PDC (Provincial development Council), shortly.

The more ambitious one is for the generation of another 10MW power hydroelectric plant by creating a new dam in the area touching Carmen, Dagohoy and Danao at an estimated cost (high) of P 1.7 Billion based on a per MW cost of US$ 4 million.

The location will be somewhere near the area popularly known as the alleged "hiding place" of fugitive Commander Vargas (NPA) who could not be arrested by authorities for a long time, by utilizing this deep hiding place.

MULTIFACTED PROJECT

The 42-year old Suweco president Sly Natividad said that there are studies to make the Phase I Bayongan Dam Power Plant a multi-dimensional one: irrigation,reforestation, power and potable water generation. They are in intense study to make the various pro-people benefits a reality even as they expect hundreds of qualified residents in these areas to have priority in the employment list.

Suweco is not a stranger to hydropower technology as it operates the Hitoma I and Silong mini hydroplants in Bato Catanduanes with 3.6 MW at the cost of P 515- million while three more plants are 80% finished in the Antique area with a total of 8 MW. Other on-going projects are the ones in Cagayan (north) and Aklan island in the Visayas.The method used is the so-called "Greenfield" technology and the Suweco claims the group of companies to be "leading the Green Revolution."

The DOE is set to grant COCs in the future to 13 major power generators (including Suweco and Ayala) covering over 2,000 additional MW to address the growing economy of the Philippines which registered a remarkable 6.4% GDP growth rate last quarter- the second best in Asia after China.

While the Bayongan Power Plant will take 1.5 years to finish, the bigger one which requires a new dam will require 2 to 3 years to finish.

Natividad sits in the Board of the group's many companies including the industries touching on retail, technology, lesiure resort, real estate, construction, city hotels,and many others.

IMPACT TO BOHOL

The 103 MW power of Bohol is presently supplied by three hydropower plants in Tontonan, Sevilla and Hanopol, one diesel run power geenrator in Dampas while more than half is supplied by the underground cables coming from the Leyte electric grid which in turn is run by geothermal power (heat from the earth).

There are fears that disruption of one cable could seriously affect the economic activities in the province. Hydro power is the cheapest form of electric generation and the most environmentally friendly aside from being renewable.

The Provincial Government through the PDC (Provincial Development Council) will certainly assess all the new entrants to the power generation game in the province and make them jell with the projected jump in power demand with the ascendancy of a new Panglao international airport, ancillary tourism businesses and houses to be built coming from OFW money.

Projects like these are deemed a hybrid of a PPP (Private Public Partnership) since that even though there may be no "cash out" from the government since this is what Suweco claim as B-0-0 (Build Own and Operate)- and therefore a purely private sector initiative-, the resources used like roads, the water and land itself are assets of the national patrimony supervised by the local LGU for the best use of public interest.

It is important to the constituents of the area due to the "sharing" it gets from the 1% sales shares of the DOE and NEA on the projected completion of the power plants sourced from electric power bills of industrials, private businesses, government buildings and consumers.

A lot of public consultation and coordination may have to ensue between the private proponents and Government as they both have a stake in the success of the endeavors.

POLICEMAN OF ENERGY PROJECTS

The DOE through the ERC (Energy Regulatory Commission) issues the COE (endorsement) that leads to a COC (Compliance) a strict police edict of the state to guard the interests of the populace.

The COC, valid for five years. ensures that power firms will not compromise the health and safety of communities where it operates. It assures the public that the power firms will strictly adhere to the cross ownership and market share limitations stated in the EPIRA (Electric Power Industry Reform Act) to prevent market power abuse.

The Boholano community is watching with wide-eyed interest as progress cannot go on smoothly without the benefit if adequate and cheap power.

Linkback: https://tubagbohol.mikeligalig.com/index.php?topic=55772.0
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