The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has announced the start of the construction of a P400-million hydropower facility in Ifugao province to promote Japanese renewable energy technology and spur “green growth.”
Officials from JICA, the Department of Energy and the provincial government of Ifugao will lead the groundbreaking ceremonies this week marking the start of civil works. The construction is expected to finish by early 2015.
As part of its green-growth initiative (growth with minimal impact on the environment), JICA Philippine Office senior representative Eigo Azukizawa said that the project will also support the rehabilitation of the heritage Ifugao rice terraces.
“The facility will tap Japanese technology in renewable energy, and harness opportunities to help rehabilitate the rice terraces and support its communities,” said Azukizawa.
The mini-hydropower facility, which will be constructed through JICA’s grant-aid program, will have an estimated 810-kilowatt capacity and will be run by water from Likud River in Ifugao.
Revenues from the sale of the electricity produced by the facility will be used to augment the Rice Terraces Conservation Fund (RTCF), a special fund managed by the province of Ifugao to support the rehabilitation and conservation of the rice terraces.
Azukizawa added that the project aims to help rehabilitate the community’s irrigation system to help Ifugao farmers. The JICA will provide capacity-building activities to the power plant’s operators and supervisors to effectively operate and maintain the facility.
Gov. Denis Habawel of Ifugao expressed optimism that the local energy development project will attract more investment in sustainable and renewable energy.
“Given our province’s vast water and forest resources, we shall strive hard to manage the project so it can perform optimally, and raise adequate funds for the rehabilitation and preservation of the Ifugao Rice Terraces,” Habawel said.
Meanwhile, Chihiro Nakajima, a young Japanese volunteer under JICA’s Japan Overseas Volunteers program, was also deployed to Ifugao.
Nakajima aims to contribute to the effective implementation of the Rice Terraces Conservation Program and also provide support for the sustainable management of the mini-hydropower plant.
The Ifugao Rice Terraces was declared a Unesco World Heritage Site, and remains an agricultural wonder for more than 2,000 years.
The hydropower project is part of JICA’s advocacy of low carbon growth in the Asia Pacific. JICA, along with other international donors, has been tapping climate-change resources for economic development for the past years.