By Victor V. Saulon, Sub-Editor

THREE hydroelectric power projects, including those of the Aboitiz group’s in north Luzon, and one wind farm have been certified as energy projects of national significance by the Department of Energy (DoE) this month.

DoE data show the addition of the SN Aboitiz group’s Olilicon hydropower project and Alimit pumped storage had secured the certification as of April 10, 2019, along with Rio Norte Hydro Corp.’s 19.7-megawatt (MW) Ilaguen 3A hydropower project and Rizal Wind Energy Corp.’s 600-MW Rizal wind power project.

SN Aboitiz Power (SNAP), a joint venture of Norway’s SN Power AS and Aboitiz Power Corp., is developing the hydroelectric power plant in Alimit, Ifugao province through SN Aboitiz Power-Ifugao, Inc.

The Alimit hydropower complex is composed of three facilities: the 250-MW Alimit pumped storage project, the 120-MW Alimit hydroelectric plant, and a 20-MW Olilicon hydro power plant, which would bring in a total 390MW of electricity to the grid and help in securing power supply. The proposed facilities are in the municipalities of Aguinaldo, Lagawe, Lamut and Mayoyao.

In an interview in October 2018, SNAP President and Chief Executive Officer Joseph S. Yu said the company’s application was submitted in late September, making it among the latest addition to the hundreds of applications so far received by the DoE since the President signed Executive Order 30 in June 2017.

EO 30 intends to establish a simplified approval process and harmonize the relevant rules and regulations of all government agencies involved in the permitting process.

SNAP was issued the renewable energy service contract for the project in 2014. The signed agreement brings the renewable energy company and Ifugao a step toward building the first hydro power facility in the province.

On Oct. 4, SNAP and the municipal governments of Aguinaldo, Lagawe, and Mayoyao signed a framework agreement on the proposed Alimit hydropower complex to be located in Ifugao province.

The agreement outlines the cooperation, collaboration and obligations between and among SNAP as project proponent and the municipalities as hosts during the development and operation phase of the project.

Rio Norte Hydro Corp., a subsidiary of Citicore Renewable Energy Corp., is developing its run-of-river hydro-power project in Brgy. San Miguel, Echague along the Ilaguen River.

The hydro project is expected to supply 85 million kilowatts of energy yearly to the cities of Cauayan and Santiago, and the municipalities of Alicia, Angadanan, Cabatuan, Cordon, Echague, Jones, Luna, Ramon, Reina Mercedes, San Agustin, San Guillermo, San Isidro and San Mateo.

Aside from lower power rates, the community is also expected to benefit from the project’s socioeconomic development and infrastructure programs.

Data on the Rizal wind warm are not readily available at the DoE except for its proponent, which is Rizal Wind Energy Corp.