MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Energy has put off for the second half of the year the bidding for 40 to 50 prospective run-of-river mini-hydro power sites for exploration and development.
Mario Marasigan, director of the Bureau of Renewable Energy Management of the DOE, confirmed in a text message that the bidding would likely be held after the May elections. The DOE can no longer complete the preparations for the bidding—considered to date as the largest single offering of mini-hydropower projects to the private sector—between now and March 29, when the election ban takes effect.
The initial plan was to bid out the run-of-river hydropower sites in the fourth quarter last year. This, however, was overtaken by events, including the appointment of a new energy secretary in late October.
These mini-hydropower projects come with feasibility studies that were prepared by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica).
The power projects, which are located in Luzon and Visayas, will have capacities of 1 to 2 megawatts each. Further studies, however, might still be needed on the projects.
The DOE has been optimistic of being able to draw enough private sector interest in the service contracts for the exploration and development of these hydro sites.
As of November 2012, the DOE has approved 165 service contracts for hydropower projects that can generate a total of 2,607 MW. There are, however, 131 more service contract applications that are still pending. These projects will have combined capacity of 1,869 MW.