10.6-MW Pulanai hydropower plant being constructed in Philippines suffers attack

The Philippines Department of Energy (DOE) released a report today saying its US$133.4 million 10.6-MW Pulanai hydropower plant being constructed in the southern province of Bukidnon on the Island of Mindanao, was attacked by armed individuals on Feb. 25.

According to an additional report from Manila-based Power Philippines, the Philippine Fourth Army Infantry Division said 15 fully-armed New People’s Army (NPA) fighters entered the plant’s site, confiscated workers’ cellphones and fired gunshots after planting improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

The facility is located on Pulanai River and no information on casualties, damage to the project or the amount and types of IEDs set at the facility was released. Reports indicate a team from the Eighth Army Infantry Battalion’s Explosive Ordinance Disposal Unit was sent to recover the IEDs.

The Pulanai attack is the second relatively recent attack at a facility involved with hydropower production on the Island of Mindanao.

Two transmission towers owned by the state-run National Power Corp. (Napcor) were bombed on the island in December 2015. That attack caused the 260 MW combined capacity of Agus I and Agus II hydropower projects to lose grid-connected transmission capabilities.

In December, HydroWorld.com reported Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte participated in groundbreaking ceremonies for the Pulanai plant, which is scheduled for commissioning in 2019.

The facility is a run-of-river plant being developed in a joint venture between Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) and a Pure Energy Holding Corp. subsidiary, Repower Energy Development Corp., under the name Pure Meridian Hydropower Corp.

In the DOE release, Energy Secretary, Alfonso Cusi, said, “An inter-agency task force in securing energy facilities is being activated composed of the Philippine DOE, Philippine National Police, National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, Armed Forces of the Philippines, National Transmission Corp., National Electrification Administration and Napcor with assistance of the DOE Mindanao Field Office to ensure the completion of the project despite the despicable attack.”

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Gregory B. Poindexter is an associate editor for HydroWorld.com . He also provides social media updates via HydroWorld.com's Facebook , Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.

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