Tag Archives: hydroelectric power plants

Beauty, power in city of majestic waterfalls

By Rex Godinez Ortega
Philippine Daily Inquirer
May 14, 2014

ILIGAN CITY, Philippines—In a city with 23 waterfalls on its list—some say it’s actually 30—it would not come as a surprise if yet another is added to the number.

Iligan, also called the City of Majestic Waterfalls, has one other that many say could rival its premier attraction, the legendary Maria Cristina Falls that supplies 70 percent of Mindanao’s electricity.

The little-known 265-meter, two-tiered Limunsudan Falls is tucked in a vast mountainous and forested area that not many Iliganons know of, much less considered as a travel destination because of its remoteness. It is located at Barangay (village) Rogongon, roughly 55 kilometers from downtown Iligan.

It would probably be safe to say that generally speaking, only members of the Higaunon tribe, who call the 35,555-hectare Barangay Rogongon home, may have seen or are familiar with Limunsudan Falls.

Reaching the falls requires either a two-day trek across jungles or a five-hour circuitous drive that takes one to Cagayan de Oro City in Misamis Oriental province, then to Talakag in Bukidnon province, and then back to Iligan in Lanao del Norte.

Limunsudan is said to be the second-tallest waterfall in the country. The record for the tallest has been given to Aliwagwag Falls in Cateel, Davao Oriental province. However, Aliwagwag Falls is, in reality, just a long series of 84 “steps” whose cumulative height reaches 338 meters.

Limunsudan, on the other hand, has two, and not to mention, huge free-flowing vertical drops. In fact, each of Limunsudan’s tiers is taller than the mighty 98-meter Maria Cristina Falls.

The comparison with the wondrous Maria Cristina Falls cannot be avoided: Its beauty and power are two attributes that may very well describe Limunsudan.

Awesome potential

Truth to tell, after a “waterfaller” (those who love viewing waterfalls) manages to get over the initial shock at the beauty and grandeur of Limunsudan Falls, he is likely to ponder on its awesome potential in terms of generating power.

The might of the Maria Cristina Falls, which has been harnessed by engineers through the Agus VI Hydroelectric Plant in Iligan City, has been estimated to have a capacity of around 200 megawatts. But if an engineer were to stand before Limunsudan Falls, it would be fairly easy for him to see how easily it could rack up that same figure, and even much more.

Many Iliganons today already feel it is ridiculous for them to be paying so much for electricity with Maria Cristina Falls right in their midst.

This is even more relevant now when the threat of a power crisis looms in Mindanao and it would be difficult to ignore all that untapped natural and clean source of energy just sitting there untouched.

However, Limunsudan’s days as a hidden natural wonder appear to be numbered.

According to Wilma Sihag Soong Wade-Bado of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples Provincial Office here, a hydropower company has already conducted a feasibility study on its potential.

Wade-Bado, a descendant of a Higaunon princess from Rogongon, said the company is in the process of securing a Free Prior Informed Consent from the Higaunons. Getting this certificate is required by law since it involves the lumad Higaunon’s ancestral domain.

Major throwback

The lack of good roads to Limunsudan Falls serves as the major drawback to waterfallers and those seeking to harness its power. Complicating matters would be the very real threat of armed men who are sighted crossing the jungles from time to time.

In fact, when the author, together with several others, visited the waterfalls several years ago via the Talakag route, one such group we encountered on a lonely dirt road tried to shoot us.

Trips to Limunsudan Falls still remain a security concern up to this day, and visitors are advised not to go to the area without military or police

But for waterfallers who ignore the lack of a road network and threats to life and limb, the experience of seeing Limunsudan can be a thrill of a lifetime.

When the falls made it to the list of top 10 highest Philippine waterfalls, Iligan, formerly referred to as the City of Waterfalls, became known as the City of Majestic Waterfalls.

Legarda seeks creation of Lake Lanao Development Authority

January 21, 2012

STRESSING that Lake Lanao and its watersheds are now in the middle of an ecological crisis, Senator Loren Legarda is pushing for the creation of the Lake Lanao Development Authority.

Legarda said a 2006 study made by the Mindanao State University found that the Lake suffers from massive algae contamination brought about by indiscriminate logging, extensive land-use and farming.

She said the continued deterioration of Lake Lanao is most unfortunate, given its historical, cultural, economic and ecological importance to the country.

“Being the only ancient lake in the country, Lake Lanao is considered of prime ecological importance, which justified the establishment of the Lake Lanao Watershed way back in 1992 pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 871,” Legarda said.

Considered as part of their ancestral domain, she said Lake Lanao is also of significant historical and cultural importance to indigenous peoples, particularly the Maranaos who continue to live in areas surrounding the lake.

“It also plays an important role in securing Mindanao’s energy needs as it supplies water for six of its existing hydroelectric power plants, collectively responsible for 70 percent of the island’s energy needs,” Legarda added.

She pointed out that although the poor state of the Lake is attributed to man-made activity, this was further compounded by the absence of a clear framework in managing its water and watershed resources.

With this, Legarda filed Senate Bill 3097 that seeks to establish an effective policy and regulatory administration over Lake Lanao thru the Lake Lanao Development Authority, thereby ensuring the promotion and development of Mindanao’s important natural resource base in a sustainable manner.

“The Authority shall have the exclusive jurisdiction to issue Environmental Compliance Certificates (ECCs)/Certificate of Non-Coverage (CNCs) and grant permits for any projects or activities in or affecting the Lake Lanao Area. The proposed measure also aims to adopt the integrated water resources management to promote sustainable development in the same area,” she said.

Legarda added that the bill also seeks to create the Public Hearing Committee to strengthen Lake Lanao Development Authority’s ability to resolve disputes; and the Lanao Lake Police exclusively for the Lake Lanao Area trained especially for the enforcement of fisheries and environmental laws and the rules and regulations duly promulgated by the Authority.

No brownouts this summer, says DOE

BusinessWeek Mindanao
March 14, 2011

IN light of imminent power shortages seen in Mindanao, the Department of Energy is looking into adopting measures that will address the problem especially in the coming summer months.

During a forum in Cagayan de Oro last week, Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras said the power situation in Mindanao for the coming summer months is a cause for concern but is not critical.

Despite fears of a repeat of last summer’s rotating brownouts, Almendras said there is only a two week “critical” period when the Mindanao grid’s power reserves would be relatively thinner due to scheduled maintenance works on its major hydroelectric power plants which supply 55 percent of the island’s power mix.

Almendras said the Pulangi IV hydroelectric power plant in Bukidnon was originally scheduled to undergo a month long rehab this month but this is expected to be considerably shortened given the latest estimates of the National Power Corporation (Napocor).

“Even if only Pulangi is on maintenance, there should be no brownouts,” Almendras said. “The bigger challenge would be in May when the Agus hydroelectric plants are scheduled for rehab during the third week of May because our reserves would be much lower.”

Earlier, the DOE said that in addition to the supply augmentation program consisting of the transfer of power barges to the southern region, sale of electricity by big industrial firms with excess capacities and through voluntary curtailment, the Grid Operation Management Protocol (GOMP) will be implemented rigorously to ensure power supply reliability during unexpected generation plant shutdowns.

The DOE encourages consumers from all sectors to reduce electricity demand especially during peak hours by turning off equipment and appliance when not in use to avoid any power cuts.

Almendras said for whole month of January 2011, the Mindanao grid experienced only a one day Yellow Alert when reserves were lower relative to demand.

“The reason why we don’t have brownouts in 2011 is weather has been great,” he added.

However, Almendras said although Mindanao’s required reserves are 32 percent, the actual figures so far have been way below that.

“If one plant goes down or there is a surge in demand, system can’t respond,” he said. “You can never be 100 percent sure with power in any setting. That’s why we need every single megawatt of non-hydro generating capacity. Assuming walang nasisira we’re okay.”

In preparation for the expected two weeks Yellow Alert when the Agus and Pulangi plants will be down for maintenance, Almendras said the ERC is extending the ancillary service contracts of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines’ (NGCP) with Therma Marine Inc.’s M1 and M2 power barges to July 7, 2011.

“NGCP will have 100 MW available under the ASPA with another 82 MW firmed up in bilateral agreements with various power coops,” said Jovy Batiquin, TMI Chief Operating Officer said. “The balance of 18MW is available to NGCP anytime it needs it.”

As a further contingency, DOE also plans to move three of its power barges from Panay once the power situation in that island normalizes with the operation of new coal-fired power plants.

PB 101 has been tentatively scheduled for transfer to Mindanao by the fourth week of February, PB 102 by the third week of March and PB 103 by the first week of May.

Almendras assured forum participants the NGCP/TMI ASPA experienced

Power curtailment hits Mindanao anew

The Philippines Star
By Roel Pareno
September 18, 2010

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines-
Power curtailment has again hit a vast area of Mindanao just as President Aquino expressed hope that he could end the power crisis on the vast island before his term ends in 2016.

This, as the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) issued a red alert notice not because of dwindling water levels but of technical problems in power plants.

Mindanao, which is largely dependent on hydroelectric power, has been experiencing power shortage due to low water supply since February due to the El Niño-caused dry spell.

In an alert notice issued to the Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative (Zamcelco), NGCP manager Reynerio Ramos said two-hour curtailment in the power supply will again be experienced daily.

The NCGP said it issued the red alert notice effective yesterday, explaining that its contingency reserve is already zero due to planned outage of the Pulangi 4 hydroelectric power plant; the Agus 6, which is supplying only 20 megawatts; and the emergency shutdown of Agus 2.

The power curtailment was also due to the reduced capability of the Agus power plants and the Pulangi hydroelectric plant.

The non-operation of the APTM1 and APTM2 power barges due to transmission line constraints also contributed to the power curtailment.

Mr. Aquino, who was in Davao del Sur Thursday to inaugurate the 42.5-MW Sibulan hydropower project, which is seen to make a significant contribution to the Mindanao power grid, was hoping the power crisis in Mindanao, which he described as a “nightmare,” would be over soon.