The Lopez-owned First Gen Corp. is putting high priority on the construction of the 23-megawatt (MW) Bubunawan hydro power plant in Bukidnon province despite the challenges faced by the project.
“We’re prioritizing Bubunawan. We plan to start the construction by the second half of next year,” Francis Giles Puno, First Gen president and chief operating officer, told reporters over the weekend.
He said it would take about two years to complete the $100-million project, which is located in the towns of Baungon and Libona in Bukidnon.
“But the challenge is, how do you construct it? It is really a challenging project,” he added.
Puno said infrastructure such as roads and tunnels should be put in place first before construction could start. Specifically, he said an eight-kilometer tunnel is required before they can build the hydro plant.
“The challenge is how do we proceed to construct (the plant), because we need to have roads and tunnels for the project,” he said.
Meanwhile, local unit First Gen Mindanao Hydro is negotiating with the Cagayan Electric Power and Light Co., Inc. and the Misamis Oriental Electric Service Cooperative-1 for interconnection to be able to sell the power generated by the Bubunawan plant.
Apart from the Bubunawan project, Puno said they are also set to start the construction of the 20-MW Tagoloan plant, also in Bukidnon, and the 30-MW Puyo project in Agusan del Norte.
The Department of Energy has issued a certificate of commerciality to First Gen’s hydro projects in Bukidnon, namely the 8-MW Tumalaong plant, 23-MW Bubunawan project, and the 20-MW Tagoloan plant. A certificate of commerciality allows a renewable energy project proponent to start constructing the proposed facility.
Apart from the Puyo plant, the company has other projects in Agusan del Norte such as the 14-MW Cabadbaran hydropower plant.
First Gen operates the 1,000-MW Santa Rita and 500-MW San Lorenzo natural gas power plants in Batangas.