The Philippine Star

Napocor to de­cide on best op­tion to re­ha­bil­i­tate Agus hy­dro plant

- Danessa Rivera National Power · Power Corp of Canada · World Bank · World Bank Group · Philippines · Iceland · United Nations · France · Lanao del Norte · Iligan City · Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte · Islamic City of Marawi · Iligan

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.

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