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Aboitiz unit to put up 3 hydro power plants

By: - Reporter / @amyremoINQ
/ 12:08 AM October 31, 2011

To help secure adequate power supply in Luzon, the SN Aboitiz Power (SNAP) Group plans to implement three major hydropower projects that may add as much as 415 megawatts to the Luzon grid over the medium term.

SNAP chief executive officer Emmanuel V. Rubio said the group was looking at developing in Nueva Vizcaya a greenfield power project that was expected to generate about 150 MW to 180 MW and another similar facility in Quezon, which is targeted to generate 110 MW to 120 MW.

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SNAP, a joint venture between Statkraft Norfund Power of Norway and Aboitiz Power Corp., is also inclined to proceed with the expansion of the 360-MW Magat hydroelectric power facility in Isabela. This will increase the plant’s capacity by 115 MW, Rubio said.

Rubio, however, declined to reveal the estimated costs of the projects. He, however, noted that its existing lenders, which included World Bank private sector investment arm International Finance Corp., had expressed interest in funding at least one of the projects, particularly the Magat expansion.

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According to Rubio, the group wants to prioritize the expansion of Magat, followed by the Matuno hydropower project in Nueva Vizcaya and later, the planned facility in Quezon.

SNAP has already signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Irrigation Administration, which is a significant step toward the implementation of the brownfield power project, according to Rubio.

“We’re now finalizing the design and the technical aspects of the project together with NIA. We have formed a technical working group and signed an MOU about three months ago, which set the ground rules for expansion,” he said.

Scheduled for completion by 2016, the Magat expansion may include the installation of a pumped-storage system where water stored in an upper reservoir can be released to a lower reservoir through the penstock when power from the plant is needed. When demand for electricity is low, the turbines spin backward and pump the water back up to the upper reservoir, enabling more efficient water use.

In the meantime, the Matuno hydropower project in Nueva Vizcaya is a significant project, according to Rubio as it does not only have an irrigation component that will benefit about 12,000 hectares of farms, but it also help prevent massive flooding in the province.

“It is actually upstream of Magat. One of the benefits is that it will serve as an upstream storage for Magat and if we can store water upstream, we will be minimizing the spilling of water during the wet season,” Rubio explained.

“This is something, I think, that the government should pay attention to if it is looking for ways to prevent flooding. This is something that should be pursued,” he stressed.

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The Matuno power plant is targeted for completion by 2017.

As for the Quezon hydropower project, SNAP is looking to work with a company that has applied for a service contract in that area. This project, however, is still in its “very early” stages, said Rubio.

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TAGS: company, Energy, hydropower projects, Investments, SN Aboitiz Power
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