Or. Mindoro opens first renewable energy project by an electric coop

POSTED: Thursday, October 16th, 2014

CALAPAN CITY – The province of Oriental Mindoro made another milestone and share in the country’s search for stable and enough electric power to at least curb the expected power shortage by next year.

Over the weekend, the province witnessed the inauguration and commissioning by the Oriental Mindoro Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ORMECO) of the upper cascade of Linao Cawayan Mini-Hydro Power Plant (LCMHPP) project which is estimated to provide a maximum total of three megawatts of power to its electric grid.

The project, actually the second one of the two-phase mini-hydroelectric power generation project, the first one being the already operating lower cascade located in Sitio Ariguy, Brgy. Calangatan, San Teodoro town in Oriental Mindoro province, is the first renewable source of energy project constructed and undertaken by an electric cooperative in the Philippines after the passage of Republic Act No. 9513 or the Renewable Energy Act of 2008.

During the inaugural program preceding the actual switching off or commissioning of the said power plant last October 10, ORMECO General Manager Romeo N. Cuasay disclosed that the said electric cooperative’s inability to tap power from the main grid of National Power Corporation (NPC) has spurred them to put up its own renewable source to enable it also to reduce the cost of electricity in the areas that are being served by Strategic Power Utilities Group (SPUG.)

According to Cuasay, the ORMECO leadership, with the assistance of the people’s group Multi-Sectoral Electrification  and Advisory Council, has put forward a Power Development Plan designed to enhance the current supply of power in the province and thereby, provide a more efficient and reliable electric service to present and prospective consumers.

“On top of this plan is the development of mini-hydro power resources in area where ORMECO has had 25 years of experience operating its own mini-hydro power plant.  We initiated the development of the first phase of 2.1 MW Linao-Cawayan Mini-Hydro Power Plant.  Totally, the two plants which when fully operational will provide a combined additional total of 5.1 megawatts of electric power to the whole ORMECO grid,” Cuasay further said.

Accordingly, the two plants employed some 50 Mangyans out of 150 personnel during its construction and is now employed eight personnel for operation to which one Mangyan is a project employee.  Its expected generation rate reduction during operation is 20 centavos per kilowatt-hour and the power project can supply some 20,000 households for an average of 50 kilowatt-hour for every household.

“The province (Oriental Mindoro) is rich in hydro resources and the search and development of potentially larger sites will continue as ORMECO foresees and increase in power demand in the next five to ten years.  This is also in consonance with the present thrust of the government for local provinces to achieve independence and self-reliance in the production of power and energy,” Cuasay stated.

On hand during the inauguration are local government officials led by Provincial Board Member and former San Teodoro Mayor Apollo Feraren, ORMECO directors and power sector representatives such as those from the National Electrification Administration (NEA), Department of Energy, Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) and National Commission for Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).( By JUANCHO R. MAHUSAY)

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