Published July 24, 2017, 10:00 PM By Myrna M. Velasco
Being a well-entrenched power industry player in Mindanao, Aboitiz Power Corporation is taking a first crack at the proposed rehabilitation of the 727-megawatt Agus-Pulangui hydropower facilities.
Aboitiz Power President and Chief Operating Officer Antonio R. Moraza categorically stated that with the ‘overcapacity’ being experienced in the grid comes now the perfect timing for the overhaul of the hydropower facilities.
But he qualified “studies would have to be made in order to determine how the proposed Agus rehabilitation be done and by whom.”
While the company has not directly stated its interest to be the party to undertake the facilities’ rehabilitation, Moraza has vouched on their track record in the “restoration and bringing back to viable commercial operations” hydro plants that had been substantially de-rated or practically mothballed with ages of operations.
Moraza particularly cited their foray leading to “successful rehabilitation of the Ambuklao hydroelectric power plant in Ifugao,” – that was a facility built in 1956 that had despairingly been abandoned by the government following the 1990s death-dealing earthquake.
For that undertaking, he said, “we invested resources, brought in experts and worked with government to make the plant run again.”
The rehabilitation process culminated in 2001, when the Aboitiz Group and its Norwegian firm partner SN Power, brought back the plant to operation and also “increased its installed capacity to 105 megawatts from previously just at 70MW.” With the same volume of water being utilized , energy generation had been beefed up by 50-percent, Moraza emphasized. In a related development, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III told reporters that they have been eyeing China funding for the rehab of the Agus-Pulangui plants, but there had been no definitive implementation blueprint and timeframes yet on when the plan will move forward.
Dominguez is the chairman of the boards of both the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation and National Power Corporation that currently take charge of the operation of the Agus hydropower complex.
For Moraza, since the power plants were constructed way back in the 1950s, they are now badly in need of comprehensive repair works – and the most viable time to do it would be this time that Mindanao grid is already teeming in capacity.
He stressed “many sectors have been calling for an extensive rehabilitation of the facilities so it can operate at an optimum efficiency.”
Moraza added “with all the supply coming into Mindanao today, it may be time for the government to finally decide on the fate of the Agus complex.”