Mini hydro breaks ground

by Vency Bulayungan / PIA

KIANGAN, Ifugao – In an effort to conserve the Ifugao Rice Terraces, provide a good example of locally based energy development, and improve the lives of households engaged in terrace farming in the province, the local government units and foreign partners  conducted a groundbreaking ceremony of a mini-hydro power plant at Barangay Ambabag last Dec. 10.

Dubbed as Ambangal mini-hydro power plant, the 200-kiloWatt project located in the boundaries of barangays Ambabag, Pindongan, and Mungayang is anticipated to generate a conservation fund of P3 million a year.

This project is funded by the e8, a non profit corporation which regroups 10 major electricity companies of the G8 countries namely Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, United Kingdom, and United States, in promoting sustainable development through renewable energy projects and human capacity building activities for the electricity sector in developing nations of the world.

Speaking before the officials and the community people in this historic town, Department of Energy assistant secretary Leonilo Lariosa, commended the officials, the community, and stakeholders for their unequivocal support towards the realization of the Ambangal mini-hydro project.

“Power plants in other parts of the country have been developed and utilized using money that were borrowed from the banks by the stakeholders but the province is lucky because the e8 granted funds for the Ambangal mini-hydro plant,” Lariosa said.

He said that the proceeds of the commercial operation of the project will be used in the restoration of the rice terraces in the area which is considered as one of the prime tourist attractions in the country.

On the other hand, Yoshihiro Hatano, general manager of the International Affairs Department of  the Tokyo Electric Power Corporation (TEPCO) said that since the launching of the project in 2006, TEPCO, which is the largest electric power company in Japan,  was dedicated in conducting rigorous feasibility studies and creating project consensus among the stakeholders including the local community. TEPCO is leading the Ambangal mini hydro project.

“Project manager Mitsuri Shimizu, a specialist in hydroelectric energy development and Nobuki Hayasha, the deputy project manager who is an expert in the social aspects of renewable energy development, have wholly dedicated their passion and competence to this project from the beginning,” Hatano said.

Bruno Menard, the project coordinator of e8 general secretariat, said that e8 is committed to share its experience and expertise with partners in developing countries with a view of advancing sustainable development, protecting the environment, and demonstrating viable electricity projects through international cooperation.

For their part, governor Teddy Baguilat Jr. and acting mayor Angelito Dulinayan  said that this project  has been the dream of the officialdom of this municipality  when both were the mayor and vice-mayor, respectively.

This is a dream come true not only to us officials but to the community people because this project will bring development to the municipality, help uplift the economic condition of the people here and empower local communities, through their improved abilities to be involved in participatory planning and management,  Dulinayan said.

Baguilat also said that with the positive result of the native ritual performed by the “Mumbaki” (native priest) Johny Dulnuan, before the groundbreaking ceremony, the project which was realized through the assistance of the e8 will provide a good example of locally based energy development.

Provincial planning and development coordinator  Carmelita Buyuccan, who is also the chairperson of the Technical Working Group,   disclosed that the project will also conserve the rice terraces and the community people will be able to manage their own resources through the sales of electricity.

Buyuccan further said that employment opportunities will be created for local residents as construction workers and as operators. Other benefits that will be derived from the said project are improvement of irrigation systems, repair and maintenance of eroded rice terraces; dissemination of appropriate farming technology with traditional skills; reforestation; income generating activities and inheritance of the Ifugao traditional culture.

Barangay captains Jayson Bayawon of Ambabag, Rodrigo Bilog and councilman Cresencio Kimayong of Pindongan expressed their gratitude to e8, the provincial and municipal government here and other stakeholders from the project.

A Local Economic Enterprise Unit (LEEU) shall be established by the provincial government of Ifugao to manage both the operation and maintenance of the power plant, and the proper use of the conservation fund.


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