SAN MANUEL, Pangasinan – The 1.35-megawatt (MW) Butao Hydroelectric Plant in Sitio Butao Barangay Guiset Sur here, which is expected to augment power supply in the Luzon grid and irrigation to nearby farmlands, was inaugurated on Thursday.
“As we know we are sometimes experiencing a shortage in the supply of electricity in the country. Although the power plant is small, it could still help. It will also add to the income of the national government,” National Irrigation Administration (NIA) chief Ricardo Visaya said in an interview.
He said Presidential Decree 522 was signed in 1974 giving NIA the authority to develop not only irrigation systems but also hydropower and water for domestic use.
Visaya said the 44-kilometer canal managed by NIA has more sites for hydro-power plants, urging Mindoro Grid Corporation (MGC) to consider the possibility of putting up another one in the area.
The Butao Hydroelectric Plant sources fresh water from the irrigation system of NIA, through the Butao Irrigation Drop that is part of the Agno River Integrated System (ARIS).
NIA and MGC signed a memorandum of agreement for the development of the Butao Hydro Electric Plant and the groundbreaking was held in June 2019. The project was completed on July 8 this year, with an expected life span of 30 years.
The plant’s installed capacity is 1,350 kilowatt, while its point of interconnection is the 13.8-kilovolt backbone of the Pangasinan Electric Cooperative III.
Visaya said MGC will distribute or sell the generated electricity to the electric cooperatives or companies and it will pay about 6 percent of its gross sales to the government.
MGC vice president Jose Soncuya said the power plant is the fourth established by MGC in the country.
“Just like the other plants we had put up in Mindoro and Samal Island, Davao del Norte, this endeavor has been costly, risky, and challenging. Our daring would have been inconsequential if the government of San Manuel town, Pangasinan had not opened the door for such productive change,” he said.
Meanwhile, San Manuel town Mayor Kenneth Marco Perez thanked MGC for establishing the power plant.
He said aside from the taxes the municipality earns from the company, MGC provided employment to residents from the time the construction began. (PNA)