July 14, 2015
(Top) Officials from Government of Japan lead the symbolic turn-over of the hydropower station to the officials of Department of Energy (DOE). Photo shows (from left) JICA Philippines Chief Representative Noriaki Niwa, Embassy of Japan Trade and Commerce Attache Junichiro Suzuki, DOE Undersecretary Donato Marcos, DOE-Renewable Energy Management Bureau Director Mario Marasigan, and DOE-Hydropower and Ocean Energy Division Chief Andresito Ulgado
(Bottom) DOE Undersecretary Marcos turns over the symbolic key to Ifugao Governor Denis Habawel (third from right). Likud hydro power station is the second hydropower plant to be managed by the provincial government of Ifugao.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Department of Energy (DOE), and Provincial Government of Ifugao inaugurated last week a mini hydropower plant project to help supply electricity and support rice terraces conservation efforts in Asipulo, Ifugao.
The grant aid project, which began in 2013, is part of the Japanese government's initiative through JICA to share Japan's technology with its development partners.
The mini hydropower plant project which amounts to JPY 922-M, will help supply 820 kilowatts of electricity to underserved communities in Asipulo, Ifugao.
"We are sharing Japanese technology developed by our small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that can be applied to maximize the hydropower potential available in the Philippines, especially in the Cordillera," said JICA Chief Representative Noriaki Niwa. "The project is also an example of Japan-Philippines win-win partnership where we work together to support clean energy supply, while supporting the local community's efforts to protect the environment."
The new mini hydropower plant is projected to raise revenues for Ifugao Province four times than the existing Ambangal hydropower plant in the region.
"Long before the UNESCO acknowledgment, we are already planning the conservation of the rice terraces, but we lack funding. The Likud hydropower makes the conservation sustainable, and is a permanent, steady funding source as long as the local government maintains it," said Ifugao Governor Denis Habawel in a speech during the turn-over ceremony.
A portion of the profits from the electricity sales from the mini hydropower plant will go to the Rice Terraces Conservation Fund that is also meant to finance community development projects. Also part of the project was to train and hire Ifugao staff on the operations and maintenance of the facility.
"After this ceremony, the micro hydropower plant is now the responsibility of the Ifugao people. This project has countless benefits to our community, including generation of renewable energy and electrification of our houses, conservation of the rice terraces heritage, and even employment of Ifugaos. Let us ensure proper operation and maintenance, and security of the plant," said Rogelio Donait on his native language, addressing his fellow Ifugao residents in Asipulo.
In 2013, JICA dispatched a Japanese volunteer under its Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteer (JOCV) Program to assist in the rice terraces conservation efforts.
Another JICA grassroots cooperation program with the Ifugao State University, University of the Philippines, and Japan's Kanazawa University is ongoing to preserve the rice terraces, considered to be part of Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS).
In 2007, Ifugao Province enacted a Mini Hydro Electric Power Plant Development Program to, among others, encourage hydropower development in the province and secure funds to preserve the Ifugao rice terraces, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Philippines' Renewable Energy Act of 2008, the first comprehensive legislation on renewable energy in Southeast Asia, likewise aims to increase the country's power generation from renewable energy by three times (approximately 16,200 MW) by 2030, and at the same time balance economic growth with environment protection through renewable energy. (Source: JICA Preparatory Survey for Mini Hydropower Development in the Philippines)
The new mini-hydropower project in Ifugao is located in Lamut River part of Ifugao Province's western area where climate condition, and water resources are suitable for flow-in type hydropower development.
The Ifugao mini hydropower plant is the second hydropower project inaugurated by JICA this year after the first project commenced in the month of June in Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro whose geographic features are also suitable for hydropower.