Aboitiz to build new hydropower facilities in Bukidnon

Karlos Manlupig

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Aboitiz unit, Hedcor, will construct two run-of-river hydroelectric plants that will help boost power supply in Mindanao

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Amid the power shortage in Mindanao, a wholly owned unit of Aboitiz Power Corp has announced its plans to construct two run-of-river hydroelectric power plants in Kitaotao, Bukidnon. 

Hedcor Inc vice president for business department Gregorio Jabonillo said the plants will have a combined generation capacity of 28.2 megawatts.

Jabonillo explained that the facilities would harness the water running from Sita River and Simod River to run its turbines for power generation.

He added that about 90% of the water in the river will be diverted through pipes to create enough push to generate power in the turbines.

The facilities will cover up to 5 kilometers of Sita River and 4 kilometers of Simod River.

“After the process, we will also return the water to the river in a cleaner state,” Jabonillo said.

Jabonillo said that the proposed facility in Sita River is targeted to have a capacity of 16.4 megawatts while that in Simod River is expected to produce 11.8 megawatts.

Yearly, the facilities are estimated to generate 59 million kilowatt-hours power, which would help boost supply in Mindanao, he explained.

The company said aside from power generation, the power complex will also bring different forms of benefits and assistance to the host communities.

“Our facilities, which will be built on the ancestral domain of our brothers and sisters from the indigenous tribes of Bukidnon, will produce substantial benefits to the host communities including employment, medical assistance, schools and infrastructure projects,” Jabonillo said.

And the most important benefit of the host communities from these facilities, he added, is the annual generation share from the operations.

In the rounds of consultations with the tribal communities, the company promised the residents that there is nothing to worry about any ill environmental effects of the proposed project.

However, Mindanao-based environmental group Panalipdan criticizes the power project for possible adverse effects to the local ecosystem.

Juland Suazo, spokesperson of Panalipdan, said that despite the promises made by the company that the facility will champion clean energy, it will still have emissions, and the pipes where the water will be diverted will eventually accumulate methane.

“If the flow of water would be diverted and redesigned then definitely this would have its unimaginable adverse effects on the flora and fauna in the community,” Suazo said.

Possible long-term effects of the projects include unpredictable flashfloods and the drying of the irrigation system, which is being used on the rice fields of the farmers, he explained.

“The accumulation of wealth is privatized while the accumulation of damages is socialized,” Suazo said.

Aboitiz and Hedcor consistently asserted that their clean technology will have no negative impacts to the environment. – Rappler.com

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