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BOI approves First Gen hydropower projects

First Gen Corp.'s application for three hydroelectric projects in Mindanao has been approved by the government, the listed energy firm said in a statement Thursday.

The projects that got the approval of the Board of Investments (BOI) are the Bubunawan hydropower plant, the Cabadbaran hydropower plant and the Puyo hydropower plant.

All three facilities cost P11.93 billion combined and have a total energy capacity of 62.75 megawatts (MW).

The 23-MW Bubunawan power plant, worth P5.07 billion, is located in Baungon and Libona, Bukidnon. With two 11.5-MW generator sets, it is estimated to start commercial operations in January 2017 and provide around 45 jobs.

First Gen Mindanao Hydro is currently in negotiations with the Cagayan Electric Power and Light Co., Inc. (Cepalco) and the Misamis Oriental Electric Service Cooperative- 1 (Moresco-1) for interconnection to be able to sell the power generated by the Bubunawan plant.

The Cabadbaran plant, meanwhile, costs P1.803 billion and has a total capacity of 9.75 MW with three 3.25 MW turbines. It is located in Cabadbaran, Agusan del Norte. Power from the plant will be sold to the Agusan del Norte Electric Cooperative (ANECO). Start of commercial operations is January 2017. It is expected to generate 27 jobs.

The P5.06-billion Puyo plant has a capacity of 30 MW and is located in Jabonga, Agusan del Norte.  With two 15-MW turbines, the plant will begin commercial operations in January 2017 and will have a manpower of 27 people. It will also provide power to customers of ANECO.

Renewable energy is one of the mandatory sectors under the Investment Priorities Plan of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), which grants investors income tax holidays as well as duty-free importation of equioment.

Renewable energy investors are also granted access to feed-in tariffs under the Renewable Energy Act of 2008. — KBK, GMA News