National Irrigation Agency (NIA) Hydropower Projects
PNOC RC continues to pursue its mandate to addressing the energy crisis in the country after tendering its partnership with NIA. In November 2012, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between PNOC RC and NIA were signed along with a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between DOE and Department of Agriculture (DA).
The MOA authorizes PNOC RC to establish and operate mini-hydropower plants in six existing and planned irrigation systems of NIA located in Nueva Ecija. This is to establish the government’s full ownership and control of irrigation systems in the country. After the signing of MOA, NIA also requested PNOC RC to visit seven provinces, including Northern Samar, Iloilo, Palawan, and Mindanao, to assess other NIA projects for their potential as hydropower sources. There were twelve identified sites and studies are currently being conducted for their development. Installation of mini-hydropower plants in existing and future irrigation canals of NIA shall draw the following benefits:
- Maximized use of water resources and assets – irrigation as well as energy source
- Increased revenue for national government and participating agencies
- Electrification of remote areas increasing energy access to all
- Poverty alleviation for farmers
In addition, the joint project with NIA also aims to enhance self-sufficiency in food staples. And through this, Filipino farmers shall be uplifted through the improvement of their irrigation infrastructure and facilities.
PNOC RC has already submitted the application for Hydropower Service Contracts (HSCs) of three potential sites to DOE last March 2012. Also, additional requirements requested by DOE have already been submitted to the government agency. However, no HSC has been awarded yet to PNOC RC. The identified sites are NIA projects in Rizal, Munoz, and Penaranda.
Rizal and Munoz are now in advance development stage even without the issuance of their corresponding HSCs from DOE. PNOC RC had conducted initial meetings with the office of the governor of Nueva Ecija and concerned barangays including the presentation of project to the Councils of Barangay Rizal and Science City of Munoz.
PNOC RC has also made initial steps in tendering its Power Sales Agreement (PSA) with Nueva Ecija II Area 1 Electric Cooperative, Inc. (NEECO I) and Nueva Ecija II Area 2 Electric Cooperative, Inc. (NEECO II) by signing a MOU. PNOC RC is still conducting negotiations with both electric cooperatives and the signing of the PSAs is expected on July 2013.
In April 2013, PNOC RC has already submitted its application for Certificate of Non-Coverage requesting EMB Region III to declare two sites in Rizal and Munoz as non-environmentally critical. Negotiations with EMB Region III are still on-going.
Permits such as Certificate of Non-Overlap from NCIP and ECC from EMB Region III shall be issued once the HSC shall be secured from DOE.