Philippines administration eyeing hydropower development on irrigation systems

The National Irrigation Administration in the Philippines is moving forward with the development of hydropower projects on its existing irrigation systems and future irrigation projects.

Earlier this week, NIA signed a memorandum of agreement with Nascent Technologies Corp. for the development and construction of the 400-kW Barit Irrigation Discharge Hydroelectric Power plant. This plant is expected to cost PHP27.6 million (US$553,600).

According to previous studies conducted by NIA, there are 357 potential irrigation sites for hydropower in the country.

Other similar projects that have been developed in the country include 1-MW Rizal Hydropower Project, located near the main canal of Pampanga River Irrigation System (PRIS), Nueva Ecija. The plant started commercial operation in 2017.

“This is part of the continuous effort of the agency to support the administration in providing more renewable energy sources that will not just only boost NIA’s income but also will contribute to the provision of electricity in far-flung communities in the country,” said NIA Administrator Gen. Ricardo Visaya.

Ongoing projects include the 8.5-MW Maris Main (South) Canal Hydroelectric Project located in Isabela, which is to begin commercial operation in February 2018. In addition, the Marbel #1 Mini Hydropower Project in South Cotabato and Butao Irrigation Drop Mini Hydropower Project in Pangasinan were approved and memorandums of agreement were signed with their respective developers.

Negotiations are ongoing for the 630-kW Munoz Hydropower Project in the Upper PRIS, Nueva Ecija, the 1-MW Bulanao Mini-Hydropower Project in the Chico River Irrigation System, Kalinga; the 3.6-MW Addalam Hydroelectric Project in Addalam River Irrigation Project, Quirino; and the Agno RIS main canal in the Agno River Integrated System, Pangasinan.

NIA says “the development and construction of hydropower projects is aligned with Presidential Decree (PD) No. 552, Section 2C dated September 11, 1974 which gives NIA the directive to achieve the optimum utilization and control of water resources primarily for Irrigation purposes, secondarily for Hydraulic Power Development and for Domestic Water supply and others.”

In February 2017, HydroWorld reported that NIA was working with the Philippine National Oil Company Renewables Corp. to create a new unit to study the potential of developing small hydropower projects in irrigation facilities across the country.

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Elizabeth Ingram is content director for the Hydro Review website and HYDROVISION International. She has more than 17 years of experience with the hydroelectric power industry. Follow her on Twitter @ElizabethIngra4 .

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