The Philippine Star
Napocor to decide on best option to rehabilitate Agus hydro plant
State-run National Power Corp. (Napocor) hopes to make a decision on the best option to rehabilitate the Agus Hydroelectric Power (HEP) complex by December once the World Bank completes its studies.
The World Bank is currently studying three options for the rehabilitation of the Agus complex, namely restoring the rated capacity, increasing its capacity by 10 percent, and improving the facility’s water efficiency.
Consisting of six cascading power plants, the whole Agus complex has an installed capacity of 728.1 megawatts (MW). However, the power units are producing lower than their rated capacities.
“December is the submission the possible options. The best option, we’ll decide in December,” Napocor president Pio Benavidez said in an interview.
Earlier, Napocor said a decision would be finalized last April but was pushed back due to the issue on the Philippines’ blocking loans and grants from 18 countries that backed the Iceland-led United Nations resolution that sought a review of his anti-drug campaign.
France, one of the sponsors of the resolution, is providing $2 million for the World Bank study.
While it has yet to see the final study on the three options, Napocor may retain the rated capacity of the power complex amid the supply over capacity in Mindanao.
“The issue is the demand in Mindanao. There is capacity surplus so we might not be able to sell if Agus gets additional capacity because in six years, when the rehabilitation is completed, we project there will still be overcapacity in Mindanao,” Benavidez said. The Napocor official cited the additional capacity from the 4x135-megawatt (MW) coalfired power plant in Lanao del Norte being built by GN Power Kauswagan Ltd. Co. (GNPK).
Once the World Bank study is completed, a feasibility study on the chosen option will be conducted, which is now targeted by March next year, Benavidez said.
The feasibility study will fine tune the rehabilitation cost, and will also be the basis for the bidding parameters for the undertaking, he said.
For now, Napocor is looking at a rehabilitation cost of P30-35 billion, lower than the earlier projected P40 billion.
“We’re seeing the cost would go down to P30 billion to P35 billion because we are already doing small projects for the power complex’s rehabilitation, such as replacement of transformers, so we can lower the amount to be loaned,” Benavidez said.
Once the rehab project commences, Napocor expects it to be completed in six years.
The Agus Power Plant Complex consists of six cascading power plants which uses the water from Lake Lanao in Marawi City, flowing through the Agus River and down to Maria Cristina Falls in Iligan City.
The project should have seven facilities but the third project, Agus III, has yet to be finished.
With the Pulangi HEPP, both facilities have an installed capacity of 982 MW, but the power facilities can only supply up to 40 percent of their total capacity to the Mindanao grid.
The Agus-Pulangi power complex is government’s remaining power asset in Mindanao. The rehabilitation project is aimed at extending the facilities’ service life by 30 more years and to increase the plants’ reliability and availability.