Cordillera streamlines energy plan to increase power reserves


The Cordillera region is streamlining its five-year energy plan to utilize its river systems and geothermal resources as a contribution to increasing the country’s power reserves,  the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) shared. 

In a report by the Inquirer, Apayao Governor and leader of the Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC), Elias Bulut Jr., spearheaded the region’s initial drive for renewable energy (RE) in 2022, and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Baliscan supported this initiative last year. 

However, NEDA Assistant Regional Director Jose Dado noted that the project was still driven by the corporate sector.

NEDA and the RDC had been working together with the Department of Energy (DOE) regarding the streamlining of the regulatory and application processes like the establishment of a more structured permitting system to hasten the energy projects without jeopardizing the region’s environment or ancestral domain rights.

Dado mentioned in a press briefing that in 2022, the RDC had proposed to prioritize key projects that harness hydroelectricity, geothermal power, and other green energy potential in the provinces of Apayao, Ifugao, Kalinga, Benguet, Abra, and Mountain Province.

The assistant regional director added that the government had collated a list of investors interested in establishing RE plants across the region. These investors took part in an RE forum where the DOE announced the awarding of 96 RE projects in Cordillera.

It was anticipated that these projects would produce about 4,459.15 MW of power. Although only 5% of the country’s hydroelectric potential has been used, the headwaters of 13 Luzon river systems, located in the mountainous region, can produce 3,600 MW of hydropower.

Dado also explained that the majority of these possible energy projects are situated in protected regions, watersheds, and ancestral domains, which required investors to obtain the free, prior, and informed permission (FPIC) of the original land owners.