by Myrna Velasco – November 27, 2015
from Manila Bulletin
The Tiu group has acquired three mini-hydro power assets from long-time Filipino project developer Philippine Power and Development Company (Phipodeco), hence, cementing its official plunge into having commercial renewable energy investments.
Its acquired assets include the Palapakin, Calibato and Balugbog hydropower facilities which are all sited in Laguna province, close to the large-scale Caliraya-Botocan-Kalayaan (CBK) hydro assets.
Repower Energy Development Corporation (REDC) has been the Tiu group’s corporate vehicle in the acquisition of the hydropower plants.
It said that investments of up to P300 million shall be forked out to overhaul the plants – which have been considered to be among the oldest in their league.
“REDC’s enhancements will increase the current output of the Balugbog, Calibato and Palapakin hydro plants by more than four-fold,” the Tiu-led firm has noted.
The estimated generation of the plants, post-rehabilitation, will then hover at 11 gigawatt hours. A gigawatt hour is equivalent to one million kilowatt hours.
REDC chief executive Dexter Tiu has emphasized that the 88-year operation of the facilities had been solid testament that they can be feasibly depended upon for up to 100-year generation – as could be underpinned by new hydrology study undertaken at project sites.
“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,” he stressed.
A “thorough renewal” of the structural and civil works of the plant, according to REDC, was recommended via the study outcome of Manny V. Vergel III, a known Filipino expert in the hydro field.
Based on Vergel’s study result 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.”
Except for the propounded capital outlay on the plants’ refurbishment, the acquisition cost shelled out by REDC had not been provided to media.
“REDC will upgrade these Laguna-based low impact hydro plants, with the latest run-of-river systems technology,” the acquiring firm REDC has emphasized.
It qualified that such systems shall “basically generate energy by utilizing water in a reliable and controlled manner.”
The company has explained further that the advanced system “increases the height of the existing weirs, which raise the water level and ensure constant water supply, minimizing the hydro plant’s impact on the environment.”