KAPANGAN, Benguet – The Cordillera Hydroelectric Power Corporation (COHECO) announced that the company’s 60-megawattt run-of-river hydroelectric power plant will be completed and operational by 2023 to help provide additional renewable energy to the Luzon grid.
COHECO Director for Lands and Lease Marlon Glenn Guinto said that the company already started constructing the 22-kilometer road network that will link Cuba and Balacbac, Kapangan to the hydro plant’s proposed site of its power house in barangay Badeo, Kibungan.
Aside from working on the road network, he added that appropriate units of equipment were already brought to barangay Badeo through another access at the backdoor in Santol, La Union so that the construction of the powerhouse will be simultaneously done with other similar activities for the realization of the project.
The COHECO official stated that the construction of the road network leading to the site of the weir is now underway until such time that the road will reach the site of the power house wherein the people of Badeo will be able to benefit from the presence of a well-paved road leading to and from their place which will help in bringing their agricultural produce to the nearest market through available transportation.
COHECO was able to secure the required free and prior informed consent (FPIC) of the indigenous peoples of Kapangan and Kibungan that resulted to the issuance of the project’s mandatory certificate of pre-condition (CP) from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) for the project to proceed as earlier planned.
The construction of the 22-kilometer road network from barangays Cuba and Balacbac in Kapangan was one of the primary conditions imposed by the indigenous people for the company to fulfill that caused them to give their consent for the construction of the environmentally-friendly hydro project within their ancestral domain.
Guinto said that the company will do its best to ensure the completion of the project by the first quarter of 2023 so that it will be subsequently commissioned for it to be operational and start producing clean power purposely to be infused to the Luzon grid.
The company will also work on the put up of over a hundred of transmission towers that will directly link the hydro power plant to the tapping point of the National Grid Corporation (NGCP) in Bacnotan, La Union wherein COHECO was recently given a slot in the said tapping point for the direct connection of the hydro plant to the grid.
The company official appealed to the indigenous peoples living in the host communities and the local officials of the concerned local governments for utmost understanding on the delays in the implementation of the project considering that there are certain problems that had transpired that are beyond their control but the same had already been appropriately addressed that paved the way for the start of the initial construction of the road network leading to the weir site which will be followed by the full blast construction of the weir while the road leading to the power house is also being worked on.
Aside from their share from the national wealth tax that will be paid by the company, host companies will also benefit from the firm’s real property and business taxes and their committed share pursuant to the memorandum of agreement that gave their consent for the project.