THE National Irrigation Administration (NIA) and First Gen Hydro Power Corp. (FG Hydro) on Tuesday sealed their partnership for the development of a hydroelectric power project at the Aya Dam in Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija.
The signing of the memorandum of agreement between NIA Administrator Ricardo Visaya and FG Hydro Vice President Dennis Michael Gonzales was held at the NIA central office in Quezon City.
In a statement, NIA said the deal would complement with the existing Pantabangan-Masiway hydroeletric power plant through an acceptable scheme under ex isting laws, such as Republic Act (RA) 9513 or the “Renewable Energy Act of 2008,” among others.
“In line with this, First Gen [FG Hydro] has requested NIA’s permission to conduct a comprehensive feasibility study of the project, including but not limited to, legal, economic, social, financial and technical viability to which NIA has permitted the former to conduct the same,” NIA said.
NIA is the lead government agency mandated to develop all possible sources of water for irrigation and provide efficient and reliable irrigation services to Filipino farmers through infrastructure development.
Aside from irrigation projects, NIA is also banking on significant opportunities in the area of rainwater harvesting to generate electricity.
The Department of Agriculture earlier underscored the need for public-private partnership in constructing national irrigation systems, as well as water impounding systems across the country in a move to boost local farmers’ food production.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the country has one of the highest rainfall in the world at 2,200 millimeters of rain a year. But only 6 percent is being harvested, while India, with an average annual rainfall of only 300-650 millimeters, collects 60 percent of its rainfall.
Data from the Department of Energy showed the country has a total installed capacity of 3,701 megawatts of hydropower in 2018.