Monday, July 24, 2017

Gov’t studying 6 power proposals for Laguna de Bay

Posted on July 17, 2017

THE Department of Energy (DoE) has accepted six project proposals that seek to use water from Laguna de Bay to produce power using pumped-storage hydroelectricity.

The process generates electricity from the release of pumped and stored water in a reservoir.

“We have accepted six service contract applications over Laguna Lake,” Mario C. Marasigan, who heads the Department of Energy’s renewable energy management bureau.

“All of these projects are pumped storage,” he said, identifying Citicore Power, Inc. and Phinma Energy Corp. as among the project proponents.

He said the proposals would require pumping water from Laguna de Bay and storing it in a reservoir at a higher elevation. When there is a demand for electricity, the stored water is released through turbines to produce power.

He said the range of capacity targeted by the proponents is from 400 megawatts (MW) to 600 MW. The final figure will depend on the outcome of their feasibility studies, he added.

Mr. Marasigan said the six projects would total around 3,000 MW depending on whether Laguna de Bay is able to accommodate the projects. The projects are distributed around the Rizal and Laguna sides of the lake, he said.

He said the feasibility studies of the proponents would answer whether Laguna de Bay has sufficient water to allow the construction of the power generation facilities. The government has a similar project installed -- the Caliraya-Botocan-Kalayaan power generation complex in Laguna, which has a combined capacity of around 379 MW.

Mr. Marasigan said interest in putting up a pumped storage facility in Laguna de Bay follows the passage of the Renewable Energy Act of 2008 and the Mini-hydroelectric Power Incentive Act of 1990.

He said before the passage of the two laws, only government agency National Power Corp. held the exclusive authority to exploit the country’s river systems and water bodies for power development.

“All six projects are in the pre-development stage,” Mr. Marasigan said.

Sought for comment, Rio Q. Balaba, Citicore energy regulations manager, said the company was awarded about a month ago a service contract to develop certain areas in Laguna.

Citicore’s technical working group was “formulating the project development landscape and procedure on how to move with the project,” he said.

“We are given under the service contract a pre-development stage of five years. But we are as aggressive and very committed for our renewable energy development,” he told reporters.

“We wanted, as much as possible, earlier than five,” he said, adding that the project will depend on the outcome of the feasibility study. -- Victor V. Saulon

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