Mini-hydro to save Ifugao terraces


LAGAWE, Ifugao — Ifugao Governor Teddy Baguilat Jr., Sec. Angelo Reyes of Department of Energy (DoE) and Mitsuru Shimizu, project manager of e8, signed a memorandum of agreement for the construction of a mini-hydro in Ambangal, Kiangan, Ifugao Wednesday in Taguig, Metro-Manila.

The Ambangal Mini-hydro project was conceptualized in 2003 for the preservation of the Ifugao rice terraces and for cheaper source of electricity for the province.

The project which features the development of a run-of-river hydro-power plant (200 kW) will be funded and implemented by e8 through the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) with the support of the Department of Energy and the Provincial Government of Ifugao.

Community consultations and pre-feasibility studies were conducted last year and the year-long feasibility study started in the second quarter of 2007. The construction of the said mini-hydro project is estimated to start third quarter this year after the acquisition of the free prior and informed consent (FPIC) from the involved communities and will begin operations in 2009.

The e8 is a non-profit organization composed of nine leading electricity companies from the G8 countries that promote sustainable development through electricity sector projects and human capacity building activities in developing countries worldwide.

G8 is an acronym for the Group of Eight, or the most powerful countries in the world, that includes Japan, Britain, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Russia and the US.

Toyoto Matsuoka of e8 said part of the project’s power sales will go to a rice terraces conservation fund to be used in the rehabilitation of damaged rice terraces and communal irrigations, reforestation project, and enhancement and promotion of traditional culture programs.

According to Reyes, “The terraces is in a rapidly deteriorating state and is needing repair. This project is well designed as it incorporates environmental, social, cultural, economic, and historical aspects. It provides livelihood and income to the community thus improving the way of life of the people and enhances one of the wonders of the world currently in danger of being enlisted from the heritage sites of Unesco.”

“This project is a miracle not only for me but for the people of Ifugao. It will provide IFELCO (Ifugao Electric Cooperative) with cheaper source of energy.” said . Baguilat. “The project once completed will serve as a stepping stone for other investors to invest on social enterprise projects in Ifugao. We will devote our time, effort, and logistics for the success of this project.” # Robie Halip(NorDis)

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