07 AUGUST 2010
Hydropower no longer reliable for Mindanao, says ADB expert
The Asian Development Bank said it will continue to support more renewable energy projects in Mindanao in the next three to four years but added that hydropower might not be among them.
Claudia Buentjen, ADB principal country specialist, said hydropower may no longer prove reliable because of climate change.
Buentjen, who also chairs the ADB’s internal capacity development working group, said that because of climate change, Mindanao might be drier in the future.
“Hence, hydropower may no longer be the way to go,” Buentjen said during the launching here of the ADB magazine, “Making a difference in Mindanao,” on Thursday.
She added that ADB was more interested in other renewable energy sources such as geothermal to help address possible energy shortage in Mindanao in the future.
The island is largely dependent on hydropower sources for its electricity needs.
At the height of the El Niño phenomenon this year, Mindanao experienced up to 12 hours of power outages when its hydropower sources nearly dried up.
This prompted the business community to express concern over the heavy dependence on hydropower sources such as Lake Lanao in Lanao del Sur and the Pulangui River in Bukidnon.
Buentjen said ADB has identified renewable energy and power infrastructure among the priority projects it will support in the Philippines in the coming years.
She said ADB has already set aside some $4 billion in countrywide loans and $30 million technical assistance for the 2011-2016 period.
“Infrastructure is very high in our agenda, it’s part of improving the investment climate,” she said.
Buentjen said ADB was only waiting for the National Economic Development Authority to present its programs in the Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan in January next year.
In the ADB report, “Making a Difference in Mindanao,” Joel Mangahas, ADB country specialist, summed up the bank’s involvement in development projects in Mindanao since 1966.
As of May 2010, ADB had approved 192 public sector loans to the Philippines amounting to $11.3 billion. Of the 184 completed loans, 36 projects amounting to $815 million implemented exclusively in Mindanao, while 30 projects amounting to $1.2 billion were implemented nationwide with subprojects in Mindanao.
Mangahas said ADB has approved five loans amounting to US$304 to the energy sector in the country, with investments in Mindanao.
Among the approved projects was the Mindanao Power project, which raised the generating capacity of Maria Cristina hydroelectric station by 50 megawatts and widened the Mindanao grid to cover the major load centers in Butuan, Cagayan de Oro, Iligan and Davao.
He said ADB also carried out rural electrification projects, which improved the rural communities’ access to electricity at cheaper rates.
Read article source in Inquirer.Net, August 7, 2010