Published February 26, 2017, 10:01 PM By Myrna M. Velasco
The Philippine government, with the endorsement of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), is eyeing official development assistance (ODA) and other forms of funding from the Chinese government to bankroll the proposed rehabilitation as well as the expansion projects for the Agus-Pulangui hydropower complex in Mindanao.
The Agus-Pulangui retrofit and upgrade plan is among the projects lined up by the NEDA’s Investment Coordination Committee-Cabinet Level for the Philippines and Chinese government’s cooperation agreement.
Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi told reporters that he concurs with the recommendation to pursue rehabilitation of the 727-megawatt Agus and 225MW Pulangui hydropower facilities prior to any moves of privatizing their operations or divesting them.
“Having more than enough power in Mindanao is an opportune time that we have, to do the rehabilitation, and then after that, we can pursue privatization,” he said.
Cusi noted that the timeline of privatization as well as rehabilitation shall be done based on a study that both the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) and National Power Corporation (NPC) will present. NPC, according to the energy chief, will continue to operate the Mindanao hydropower assets that may then act as “stabilizer” when there are technical upsets in the power system.
The rehabilitation of the Agus-Pulangui complex will have various components, including that of Agus 6 Unit 4; Pulangui 4 selective dredging phase 3; and Balo-i Plains Flood Control Project.
Proposed expansion projects shall cover construction of the targeted Agus 3 hydroelectric power development as well as the Pulangui 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 ventures.
For the Pulangui 1, 2, 3, and 6 expansion projects, pre-feasibility studies were already completed by Germany’s Lahmeyer Group; while Pulangui 3 was initially met with resistance from residents as it was noted to involve “inundation or submergence of the whole municipality of San Fernando, Bukidnon” – with estimated 18 barangays getting affected.
Expansion undertaking on the proposed Agus 3 plant will set greenfield capacity addition of 224MW to the hydropower complex. Estimated investment for this was placed at $1.0 billion.
On the Agus 6 plant sited in Maria Cristina, Iligan City, the rehabilitation project involves the restoration of its capacity from 25MW deration to 50MW rated capacity. Funding for such scope of work had been pegged at R504 million.
The proposed dredging at the Pulangui 4 facility, according to studies, intends to “mitigate siltation problem of reservoir and to increase energy output.” Cost of this venture had been calculated at R500 million.
For the Balo-i flood control project, the goal is to increase output of the Agus 1 and 2 hydropower plants to a maximum of 60MW, as well as address perennial flooding along the area’s plains especially during rainy days.