Friday, August 31, 2012

NIA eyes 32 sites for hydro power plants

Written by Chris Sansano Correspondent   Published on 31 August 2012

CAUAYAN CITY, Isabela: A National Irrigation Administration (NIA) official announced that the agency is now going beyond just providing irrigation and has identified 32 sites across the nation that can be fitted with mini-hydropower plants to optimize the use of irrigation water.

Antonio Nangel, NIA administrator, said that the agency has submitted to Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Philippines Office the updated list of potential sites for such development nationwide. JICA visited the pre-identified site in NIA-Magat River Integrated Irrigation System (Mariis) for the preliminary study on a mini-hydropower plant development in an existing irrigation system here.

“We will require no additional water. There will be no consumption of water, no contamination. We will just utilize the energy,” Oshima Kazunari, team leader, stressed during the courtesy call made at the provincial capitol.

The site, known as Magat C, is at the Maris Main Canal Sta. 5 + 069.50 in Barangay San Marcos, San Mateo town, Isabela province. The structure has a head of 3.18 meters and a discharge of 56 cm/second.

The Japanese have developed turbines for low-head structures. Even structures with only two meters have potential for hydropower generation. “Though the potential is small, it is possible to contribute to a community by utilizing untapped energy, stabilizing power supply, and improving quality of life,” Mitsuru Shimizu, JICA consultant leader for the project, said.

Shimizu, who is with the Tokyo Electric Power Services Company, shared that the group has until this year to conduct the preliminary study, and once approved by the government of Japan, construction will start in the third quarter of 2013.

During the stakeholders consultation meeting conducted on August 10, Helsy Bermudez, Mariis acting operations manager, expressed hope for the project to commence as planned, an outlook shared by the municipal officials of San Mateo and Ramon in Isabela province, who were present during the consultation.

If the Magat C project is successful, low-head hydropower plants could be developed in several irrigation canals across the country. The NIA has identified 32 potential sites nationwide.

The project is also in line with the government’s “National Renewable Energy Program” of June 2011, which seeks to triple the country’s renewable energy capacity for energy security, as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The JICA Mission Team also visited Ifugao for the Likud Mini-hydro project, a mini-hydro project outside an irrigation area. Both Likud and Magat C projects are for possible application to the grant-in-aid facility of the government of Japan for renewable energy promotion to tackle global warming.  

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