Repower Energy completes acquisition of mini-hydro plants

by Danessa O. Rivera – November 29, 2015 – 12:00am

from The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – Local renewable energy developer Repower Energy Development Corp. (REDC) has acquired the country’s three oldest operating mini-hydropower plants for P300 million.

The company led by businessman Dexter Tiu completed the acquisition after the takeover of Philippine Power and Development Co. (Philpodeco).

Following the acquisition, REDC said it would upgrade these plants located in Balugbog, Calibato and Palapakin, all in Laguna, with the latest run-of-river systems technology.

These enhancements will increase the current output of the Balugbog, Calibato and Palapakin hydro plants by more than four-fold, or generating over 11 Gigawatt-hours (GWh) of clean, renewable energy annually.

“The beauty of these plants is that you know that the system has been operating for the last 88 years, and with the current hydrology study completed, it will still be productive for the next 100. The fact that these plants were not efficiently run by the former management, using only band aid solutions to mitigate problems, we are going to change all that through investment in technology and infrastructure,” REDC CEO Dexter Y. Tiu said.

These projects were recommended for structural and civil works upgrades by Manny V. Vergel III of Vergel3 Consult Inc., the only Filipino World Bank consultant on mini-hydropower.

Based on Vergel’s study on the hydrology of the region, the existing water resources can support bigger capacity plants through the implementation of advanced technology and upgrading of the civil works.

Established in 1927, Philpodeco is the pioneer and longest running operator of mini-hydropower plants in the country.

Before World War II, the company founded by the Americans and some Filipinos had already put up four hydro plants in Laguna and purchased the Sta. Cruz and Sto. Tomas electric plants, supplying electricity to the municipalities of Majayjay, Magdalena, Sta. Cruz, Pila, Victoria, Bay, Los Baños, Calamba and Sto. Tomas, Batangas.

During the 60’s, Philpodeco used to serve 39 percent of Laguna, generating 12 million kilowatt hours (kWh) or 70 percent of the capacity produced by its plants while the remaining 30 percent was purchased from Botocan and the National Power Corp.

Philpodeco continued to operate these three plants which have been supplying bulk power to Meralco since July 1, 1983.

REDC said the takeover of Philpodeco’s hydro plants is just one of its initiatives to promote environmentally, friendly renewable energy generation.

Aside from Laguna, the RE firm is also developing over 50 megawatts of mini-hydropower plants in the provinces of Quezon, Bukidnon, and Camarines Sur.

Groundbreaking of these greenfield plants are scheduled within months of each other, with the first one scheduled next week.