THE National Irrigation Administration (NIA) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Lopez-led First Gen Hydro Power Corp. to develop a hydroelectric power project at the Aya Dam in Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija.
“In line with this, First Gen has requested NIA’s permission to conduct a comprehensive feasibility study of the project, including but not limited to, legal, economic, social, financial, and technical viability, to which NIA has permitted the former to conduct the same,” NIA said in a statement on Tuesday.
The government agency that oversees the development of irrigation systems in the country said the MoU will complement with the existing Pantabangan-Masiway hydroeletric power plant through an acceptable scheme under existing laws, such as the Renewable Energy Act of 2008 (Republic Act No. 9513).
The MoU was signed on Tuesday at its head office in Quezon City. NIA Administrator Ricardo R. Visaya and FG Hydro Vice-President Dennis Michael P. Gonzales signed the deal.
The 132-megawatt (MW) Pantabangan-Masiway hydroelectric power plant complex in Nueva Ecija is owned and operated by FG Hydro. The complex has two components: the then 112-MW Pantabangan hydroelectric plant component that was commissioned in 1977 and the 12-MW Masiway hydroelectric plant portion that was commissioned in 1981.
Both plants are part of a multipurpose hydro complex that supplies irrigation water for the vast rice fields of Nueva Ecija, around 180 kilometers northeast of Metro Manila.
FG Hydro is owned 40% by First Gen Corp. and 60% by Energy Development Corp. — Victor V. Saulon