GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The provincial government of South Cotabato is pushing for a partnership with a renewable energy company for the development of a three-megawatt (MW) hydropower plant in Lake Sebu town, an official said on Monday.
Siegfred Flaviano, head of the Provincial Environment Management Office, said the local government is in advanced negotiations with proponent Euro Hydro Power (Asia) Holdings Inc. for the rollout of its hydropower project through Public-Private Partnership (PPP).
He said the proposed hydropower plant will be established in one of the famed seven waterfalls of Lake Sebu.
“We’re currently working on the details of the PPP arrangement, including the sharing agreement,” he told reporters.
Flaviano said Euro Hydro is working on building the hydropower power plant on the same site as its original 15MW project, which was shelved several years ago due to opposition from the provincial government and other local stakeholders.
The initial proposal involved the building of a dam to generate power, a move spurned by local officials and environment personnel due to the potential destruction it may bring to the site, which is part of a declared protected area.
The official said the company has since scaled down the project to just 3MW and revised the site’s development plan.
“It will no longer construct a dam and will just utilize (the) waterfall’s runoff or surface water to generate power,” he said.
He said Euro Hydro already obtained an environmental compliance certificate for the project from the Environmental Management Bureau and clearance from the Protected Area Management Board of the Allah Valley Protected Landscape.
The company, through its website, described the Lake Sebu hydropower project as a “run-of-the-river” type and will be operated by two sets of Horizontal Axis Francis runner turbines at 1.5MW each.
Based on its planned 3MW capacity, the plant is projected to generate an estimated 21 million kilowatt-hour of power annually.
In their negotiations, Flaviano said the local government is pushing for an 80-20 sharing arrangement with Euro Hydro.
He said the company will shoulder all the necessary investments, which has yet to be disclosed, while the provincial government will have the land and aggregates as counterpart.
“The PPP scheme will ensure that the province will be involved in the management of the project, especially in the protection of the environment, and will have a reasonable share from its income as well,” he added. (PNA)