By Artemio Dumlao (philstar.com)
BANGUED, Abra – Abra province is endowed with numerous potentials for renewable energy development, the Abra Electric Cooperative (Abreco) said, despite challenges facing the power sector regarding ecology and fossil fuel concerns.
Abreco General Manager Loreto Seares, Jr. said Abra province has potential spots for small hydro-electric power plants.
The best spot to develop, build, operate and maintain a mini-hydro power plant is within Daguioman in Abra, Seares said.
Daguioman is endowed with rich water resources, the Abreco executive said, which has great potentials for eco-tourism, power, and water resource development.
Earlier, the Upper Bucloc River that runs through Daguioman has been identified with potential for power generation through a mini-hydro plant, a non-pollutant, and renewable source of energy.
When developed, the mini-hydro will protect the vast forest and watershed resources of that town, Seares said.
Abra Rep. Jocelyn Bernos, vice-chair of the House Committee on Electric Cooperative Development, is supporting Abreco in pursuing a renewable energy perspective in looking for power sources that would completely energize the province with its own resources, Seares said.
“The (congresswoman) has promised to look for an entity that will develop, build, and operate jointly with Abreco, the said Mini-Hydro Power Plant in Daguioman,” he added.
Any entity (entering into an agreement with Abreco), should have a verifiable track record and experience in the development, construction and operation of a mini-hydro power plant and link its expertise and capabilities to develop the Daguioman mini-hydro power plant, Bernos said.
These far-reaching goals, Seares said, “are coupled with the continuing electrification programs of Abreco to far-flung barangays still not serviced or not reached by lateral lines of the cooperative.”
He added that despite financial and operational woes, they are moving on in expanding and improving their services in Abra.
Abreco, through the financial assistance of Bernos, has provided primary and secondary line extensions to Sitio Tambor, Barangay Alinaya in Pidigan town and Likowan, Antuagan in hinterland Tubo town, Seares said.
At present, at least 26 out of 27 towns in the province have electricity. Out of 303 barangays, Abreco is servicing at least 95 percent.
Even with the financial woes the cooperative is facing, Abreco, which has registered with the Cooperative Development Authority, is looking beyond to diversifying into other business ventures to support its goal of 100 percent power to Abra, Seares said to their 47,010 consumer-members.