Agus-Pulangi hydro plant rehabilitation gets WB push
MANILA, Philippines—The long-planned rehabilitation of the decades-old Agus-Pulangi hydroelectric power plants in Mindanao came a step closer to reality after the World Bank approved a $700,000 in financing to jumpstart project preparation.
The World Bank (WB) on April 27 approved the financing for the state-run National Power Corp. (Napocor) to start preparing the project’s feasibility study and tender documents, according to WB.
Upon completion of preparations for the rehabilitation work, WB would lend the Philippines an initial $100 million to cover part of the $150-million cost of project one of the series of Agus-Pulangi hydropower rehab projects.
The entire project to be jointly implemented by Napocor and also state-run Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (Psalm) had been previously estimated to cost a total of $300 million, which WB earlier committed to finance in its entirety.
WB said the rehabilitation of Agus-Pulangi hydropower complex was expected to “enhance the reliability of clean energy generation in Mindanao.”
Last Monday (April 26), Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the Philippines had a “unique opportunity in Mindanao to demonstrate our commitments” to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 70 percent before 2030 through the country’s first and ambitious nationally determined contribution under the Paris Agreement.
“We are exploring the financing mechanism to enable the government to improve the generating capacity of the Agus-Pulangi hydropower plant and acquire coal-fired power plants in the region to repurpose them as we increase the capacity of renewable energy,” Dominguez said.
“This will shift most of our energy requirements in Mindanao to hydropower,” he added.
“Eventually, it will spur investments from companies seeking to expand their operations in areas powered by clean energy,” the finance chief said.
Since 2017, Dominguez had wanted to rehabilitate the Agus-Pulangi hydroelectric power plants and build an integrated liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility to boost reserves and offset the depletion of Malampaya’s natural gas by 2024.
The rehabilitation of Agus-Pulangi had been first pitched for possible financing to China before the WB loan took shape in 2019.
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