October 17, 2021 at 06:20 pm
Alena Mae S. Flores
Taft Hydro Energy Corp. said over the weekend the commissioning and operation of its 16-megawatt hydropower project in Eastern Samar will begin by the end of the year.
THEC is the holder of a hydro service contract from the Department of Energy for a hydro resource in Barangay San Rafael in the town of Taft.
Benjie Picardo, THEC president, said the project was more than 98-percent completed and would be ready by the end of the year to provide power in time for the holiday peak demand season.
He said the schedule would be “a record breaker in terms of its construction period of only about 18 months.”
Picardo said the project would provide power to the island of Samar which is part of the country’s tuna highway. Lack of power has constrained investments in cold storage facilities for tuna fishermen to maximize the potential of the tuna industry.
“The project’s major economic multiplier will be the opening of investment opportunities in cold storage, processing plants and even in tourism,” Picardo said.
The plant, located 1.2 kilometers from the National Highway, will harness the Taft-Tubig River which drains from the hinterlands of Southeastern Samar.
THEC implement tree planting projects to support the integrity of the watershed area. It already planted 3,000 tree saplings at the Samar Island Natural Park and is committed to plant 500,000 trees for the life of the project.
The company also engaged the local community to support project construction.
More than 726 laborers or about 70 percent of its workforce were local hires who used to be engaged in illegal logging and coal or uling making.
A cooperative was set up to provide meals to the workers and encourage entrepreneurship especially among the women and mothers in the community.
THEC is a project company under Magis Energy Holdings Corp., a Filipino company set up in 2019 to harness the power of renewable energy sources with the aim of spurring growth in rural communities.
Magis Energy is also the owner of Matuno River Development Corp., the project company responsible for the 8.6-MW hydroelectric project in Bamban, Nueva Vizcaya.
It is committed to lead the DOE’s renewable energy drive towards a 35-percent share in the energy mix by 2030.