Hydropower plant to rise in La Union

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TUBAO, La Union: The Department of Energy has approved the construction of a P240-million hydropower plant which is expected to generate 1.5 megawatts in Barangay Halog East.

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Mayor Dante Garcia said that the power to be generated by the project will be bought by the La Union Electric Cooperative (LUELCO) and will be sold cheaper by P1 depending on the prevailing electricity rate.

He added that the project, located in Barangay Halog East in the town of Tubao, is a public-private partnership which will be having a second phase for another 1.5 megawatts.

“There is already a power purchased agreement between LUELCO and Tubao Hydro Electric Power Corp. (THEPC). Our constituents will benefit on this project and our neighboring towns,” Garcia told The Manila Times.

“Based on the feasibility study, the (Aringay River) location is suitable because of its soil and rock formation and away from residential houses. We come out with this project because we see the unstoppable increase in power rates. This is a solution on the shortage of electricity supply and we also want to develop our natural resources like this project,” Garcia added.

Atty. Vicente Dulay Ching, consultant of Tubao municipal government, said it took more than five years to complete the required documents for the project.

Ching said the project will be built along the Aringay River which was thoroughly studied by students of the University of the Cordilleras and experts from the Auburn Power Technologies Inc. (APTI).

Alice Herrerra, an official of APTI and THEPC vice president, said the construction will start on the first week of December this year while the project is expected to be operational as early as 2016.

“This is the first hydro project of Auburn in partnership with Tubao government. Although its capacity is only 1.5 megawatts, this will solve electricity shortage in the province,” Herrera said.

She said the P240-million fund of the project will be loaned from the United Coconut Planters Bank. The Tubao government will be represented properly in the THEPC board of directors.

Second District Rep. Eufranio Eriguel, who supported the project though the improvement of infrastructure projects in the area, said the hydropower plant will benefit consumers in Tubao, its neighboring towns, and La Union as a whole.

“Aside from low power rates, the project will also provide employment because it needs workers. The municipal government will also have a share in revenues from the project,” Eriguel said.

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