Conglomerate San Miguel Corp. remains keen on building the controversial Laiban Dam project to help secure the country’s power supply.
SMC Global Power Holdings Corp. president and chief operating officer Alan Ortiz told reporters at the sidelines of a forum over the weekend the project was also crucial to secure the Philippines’ future water supply.
“This is the only remaining massive bulk water system for Luzon. This is very large and it’s waiting to be exploited properly for irrigation bulk water pump storage power generation. It’s there. In our estimate, [there’s an] 800-megawatt power generation capability which is waiting to be tapped,” Ortiz said.
He said power demand had been steady growing annually.
“If we have a six-percent growth, we need a six percent growth in power capacity. Our total installed capacity today is 16,000 MW, so if we get six percent of that, that’s about 300 to 400 MW [annually]… for the next 10 years,” Ortiz said.
He said the private sector had stepped up to the challenge, citing around 2,700 MW of committed capacity and another 2,500 of indicative power projects in the pipeline.
San Miguel alone is building power projects in Bataan, Davao and Cebu provinces.
“My problem is on the political and leadership. We now have a golden opportunity in the next seven years… we can now move to the next level, bring manufacturing because there are no more blackouts,” Ortiz said.
“It’s imperative for the new government next year whoever that may be to accelerate installation of strategic energy infra and grid interconnections. We have to move fast,” he said.
Ortiz reiterated San Miguel would continue to be interested in the privatization of Laiban Dam.
“You need water for every new power plant, in the Laiban Dam. It’s still stuck in the bureaucracy for the last 35 years. There are eight billion litters of water and all 8 billion go back to the Paific Ocean. And yet we have taken 25 years to not build Laiban Dam. This is the only remaining massive bulk water system for Luzon,” he said.
The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System in 2013 identified over P100 billion worth of water projects in the medium- to long-term period, including the Laiban Dam.
The new projects include the P85-billion development of a new water resource, called centennial water project, the P15-billion distribution facility and treatment plant in Bulacan and the P5.3-billion Angat improvement.