REPOWER Energy Development Corp. (REDC) is overhauling at least three mini-hydropower plants in Laguna, after buying Philippine Power and Development Co. (Philpodeco).
Philpodeco owns three of the oldest operating mini-hydropower plants in the country.
Repower will upgrade the mini-hydropower plants with the latest run-of-river technology to multiply the output.
“Such systems basically generate energy by utilizing water in a reliable and controlled manner,” Repower said in a statement.
“The fact that these plants were not efficiently run by the former management, using only band aid solutions to mitigate problems, we are going to change all that through investment in technology and infrastructure,” said Dexter Y. Tiu, Repower chief executive.
The rehabilitations works are expected to increase the current output of the Balugbog, Calibato and Palapakin hydro plants by more than fourfold to generate over 11 Gigawatt-hours of clean, renewable energy per year.
“The beauty of these plants is that you know that the system has been operating for the last 88 years, and with the current hydrology study completed, it will still be productive for the next 100,” Tiu added.
The company is investing P300 million to overhaul of the hydro plants as recommended by Manny V. Vergel 3rd of Vergel3 Consult Inc., the only Filipino World Bank consultant on mini-hydropower.
Established in 1927, Philpodeco is the pioneer and longest running operator of mini-hydropower plants in the Philippines.
Before World War II, the company founded by the Americans and Filipinos put up four hydro plants in Laguna. It has since been supplying electricity to the municipalities of Majayjay, Magdalena, Sta. Cruz, Pila, Victoria, Bay, Los Baños, Calamba, and Sto. Tomas in Batangas.
During WW II, Philpodeco continued to operate under the Taiwan Denki Kaisha of the Japanese Military Administration.
In the 1960s, the company serviced 39 percent of Laguna. Of the 12 million kWh generated at that time, 70 percent was produced by Philpodeco, while 30 percent was purchased from Botocan and National Power Corporation.
Philpodeco continued to supply electricity to 11 of Laguna’s municipalities until President Ferdinand E. Marcos decreed in 1983 that Meralco was to take over Philpodeco’s distribution lines.
Meralco could not buy the hydropower plants as the law then precluded the distributor to generate power.
Repower is also developing over 50 MW of -hydropower plants in the provinces of Quezon, Bukidnon, and Camarines Sur.