STA. CRUZ, Davao del Sur, Philippines — In his first visit after the elections, President Benigno S. Aquino III on Thursday launched the Hedcor Sibulan Hydropower plant here to provide clean and renewable energy to the region.
With Aquino launching the project, the executives of Aboitiz Power, owner of Hedcor Sibulan, expressed confidence that the 42.5-MW greenfield project, costing P6 billion, would make a significant contribution to the Mindanao grid. Early last year, former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo led the groundbreaking for the project.
In his speech, Aquino expressed gratitude to the efforts of the private sector in resolving the power shortage in Mindanao. "This is a testament to success when the private sector becomes allies of the people," he said.
The Hedcor Sibulan plant is tapping the Sibulan and Baroring Rivers for an estimated generation of over 200 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy.
Erramon Aboitiz, president of Aboitiz Power, disclosed that the Sibulan hydroelectric power plant's generated carbon neutral electricity is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 95,000. It is the first hydropower facility in the country registered under the United Nation's Framework Convention on Climate Change as a Clean Development Mechanism project that will sell certified emission reduction units to industrialized countries.
"It is our answer to the growing demand to develop energy sources that are clean and renewable. It is also our contribution to the worldwide effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and arrest the worsening effects of global warming," he said.
The construction of the Sibulan hydroelectric power plant has contributed an estimated P700 million for sustainable projects such as new and improved farm-to-market roads of 49 kilometers, local employment of about 1,100 jobs, rural electrification, and scholarship programs.
Aquino expressed hope that the power shortage problem will be eventually solved. "I hope that before the end (of my term) the power shortage problem will be nothing more than a bad memory," he said.
He suggested other projects that could maximize the generating capacity of Mindanao such as windmill farms in Camiguin and Davao del Sur, a village in Surigao del Sur and Davao Oriental with solar panels as roof, and mini-hydropower plants with local business investors using rural manpower."
Sarah Jane Hillomen, Manila Bulletin