Manila, Philippines â€“ Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Department of Energy and Ifugao provincial government inaugurated a mini hydropower plant project to supply electricity and support rice terraces conservation efforts in the town of Asipulo.
The project began in 2013 and formed part of the Japanese governmentâ€™s initiative to share Japanâ€™s technology with its development partners.
The plant will provide 280 kilowatts of electricity to undeserved communities in Asipulo and costs 922 million Japanese yen.
â€œWe are sharing Japanese technology developed by our small and medium enterprises that can be applied to maximize hydropower potential available in the Philippines especially in the Cordilleras. The project is also an example of Japan-Philippines win-win partnership where we work together to support clean energy supply while supporting the local communityâ€™s effort to protect the environment,â€ JICA chief representative Noriaki Niwa said.
The new mini hydropower plant is projected to raise the province’s revenues four times than the existing Ambangal hydropower plant in the region.
Part of profits from sale of the plant’s electricity will go to the Rice Terraces Conservation Fund, which is for financing community development projects, Ifugao rice terraces being a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
â€œLong before the UNESCO acknowledgment, we were already planning conservation of the rice terraces but lacked funding so hydropower makes conservation sustainable and is a permanent, steady funding source as long as the local government maintains it,â€ said Ifugao Governor Denis Habawel in a speech during the event.
The project also aims to train and hire Ifugao staff on the plant’s operations and maintenance.
â€œNow the responsibility of the Ifugao people, the project has countless benefits to our community including generation of renewable energy and electrification of our houses, conservation of the rice terraces and even employment of Ifugaos so let’s ensure proper operation, maintenance and security of the plant,â€ Rogelio Donait said in his dialect, addressing fellow Ifugao residents in Asipulo.
The mini-hydropower project is located in Lamut River, part of Ifugao provinceâ€™s western area where climate conditions and water resources are suitable for flow-in type hydropower development.
The plant is the second hydropower project JICA inaugurated this year after the that in Puerto Galera in Mindoro Island.
Through its Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteer Program, JICA dispatched in 2013 a Japanese voluteer to assist in rice terraces conservation efforts.
Another JICA grassroots cooperation program with Ifugao State University, University of the Philippines and Japanâ€™s Kanazawa University is in progress to preserve the rice terraces, considered to be part of the Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems.
In 2007, Ifugao province established a Mini Hydro Electric Power Plant Development Program partly to encourage hydropower development in the province and secure funds to preserve the Ifugao rice terraces.
The Philippinesâ€™ Renewable Energy Act of 2008, the first comprehensive legislation on renewable energy in Southeast Asia, likewise aims to increase by three times the countryâ€™s power generation from renewable energy to approximately 16,200 MW by 2030.
The law also aims to balance economic growth with environment protection through renewable energy.
Oriental Mindoro province has geographic features also suitable for hydropower.
Originally from InterAksyon