Ifugao hydropower plant to help save rice terraces
MANILA, Philippines – When it comes to renewable energy, the province of Ifugao won't lag behind.
On Tuesday, January 14, a 810-kilowatt hydropower facility broke ground in the mountainous province known for its breathtaking rice terraces.
The project is a collaboration between the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Department of Energy (DOE), and the provincial government of Ifugao. The construction of the mini-hydropower plant is expected to be completed by early 2015.
The P400-million project is meant to support the rehabilitation of the world-famous Ifugao Rice Terraces.
“The facility will tap Japanese technology on renewable energy, and harness opportunities to help rehabilitate the rice terraces and support its communities,” said JICA Philippine Office senior Rrpresentative Eigo Azukizawa.
The hydropower facility, constructed through JICA's Grant Aid program, will use water from Likud River to generate power. Mechanical energy from the river's gushing waters will be converted into electricity.
Revenues from the sale of the electricity will go to the Rice Terraces Conservation Fund, a special fund managed by the province.
“The province of Ifugao is grateful to JICA for giving us this grant. We shall strive hard to manage the project so it can perform optimally, and raise adequate funds for the rehabilitation and preservation of the Ifugao Rice Terraces,” said Ifugao Governor Denis Habawel.
The project also aims to rehabilitate the community's irrigation system to help Ifugao farmers. JICA will train the power plant's future operators and supervisor tasked with maintaining and operating the facility.
The Ifugao Rice Terraces is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the province. But weather, abandonment by farmers who migrate elsewhere, and irresponsible agricultural and tourism practices have damaged the manmade wonders.
The same JICA grant program is funding the construction of a 45-kilowatt mini hydropower plant in Isabela province worth P62.14 million. The DOE and National Irrigation Administration, the implementing agencies of the project, are set to complete it by November 2014. – Pia Ranada/Rappler.com
Rice terraces image from Shutterstock