Electric co-op starts operation of picohydro-power system

by Lenie LecturaOctober 8, 2016

from Business Mirror

THE Southern Leyte Electric Cooperative Inc. (Soleco) has started commercial operation of its picohydro power-generation system, the National Electrification Administration (NEA) announced.

The NEA oversees the operation of all electric cooperatives (EC) in the country.

Considered the first of its kind in the Philippines, the Soleco picohydro power-generation system utilizes tailwater from the Hanabian minihydro power plant and generates power up to 600 watts with maximum water flow velocity of 4.6 meters per second.

Using the mechanism of a waterwheel, the picohydro system has an engineered suspension system for easy mounting, making it one of the most adaptable small-scale renewable-energy (RE) technologies to environmental changes.

Soleco General Manager Engr. Jonathan Empeño said the system is already synchronized to the grid, allowing the EC to sell generated power at a blended generation cost.

He said the approximate cost of picohydro system below 5 kilowatt hour  is $8,500 per kilowatt (kW), while cost for 5 kW and above is estimated at $5,500 per kW. Cost includes engineering design, construction, equipment installation and commissioning.

For project installation, Soleco has partnered with Helios Altas and DA Green Power Consultancy, which also undertook development of project feasibility studies.

Regino Galindes, chief operating officer of DA Green Power Consultancy, said the picohydro power-generation system poses minimal modifications to existing water systems as it uses a modular and scalable energy device that can easily harness power from running water in rivers, irrigation canals and base of dams.

He added that it only took two days to install the Soleco picohydro-power system and it can easily be dismounted if there are warnings of flood or typhoon.

To keep the picohydro facilities in check, a remote monitoring device was, likewise, installed in the system to prompt data and important alerts to the central control system.

NEA Officer in Charge Sonia San Diego said, “We laud the initiatives of Soleco and other electric cooperatives in jump-starting the deployment of renewable technologies in the country. This is consistent with the policy direction of the national government to tap renewables and increase its share in the energy mix.”

“As an agency committed to the protection of environment, NEA, together with its partner-ECs, is pushing the frontiers in RE project development to help position the Philippines as a world leader in the use of renewables,” she added.