More investors await One Bohol Power signing

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More investors await One Bohol Power signing

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Photo shows a geothermal power plant in Tongonan, Leyte, Bohol’s current main power source. (Photo: Joey Medrano)

A growing number of power supply investors now await the One Bohol Power (OBP) agreement signing among the distribution utilities that will trigger permanent solution to the province’s sustainable and resilient power need.

The agreement will bind Bohol’s existing three electric distribution utilities (DUs) to an aggregate power purchase from the energy developer-supplier that they choose to grant the contract after bidding.

Under the OBP Terms of Reference (TOR), the contracted power developer has to build right within the island-province its power generation facilities of large-scale total output that will supply to the DUs by 2024.

The local DUs’ existing contracts with their respective power suppliers will expire in December, 2023.

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Gov. Edgar Chatto estimated there are now 43 power developers and energy providers that are keener to invest and the number can close to 50 after more presented their proposals last week.

He expected the OBP memorandum of agreement among the DUs—Bohol Electric Cooperatives (BOHECO) I and II and Bohol Light Company, Inc. (BLCI)—to be sealed in mid-September or even earlier.

The TOR, which will guide the investors joining in the aggregate power purchase competitive bidding, is also set to be released by then.

The BEDAG already provided advisories for initial guidance to the potential investors, who get more eager to do business here after recognizing how Bohol has aggressively innovated its energy program.

Nine more power firms, including those with foreign principals or partners, offered their business capacities and technologies at the Bohol Energy Development Advisory Group (BEDAG) meeting led by Chatto at the Belian Hotel here on Monday.

The government is providing the lead guidance since the energy development project is to be executed privately thru the DUs under the One Bohol Power.

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But the governor told the strongly interested project takers that cost efficiency and environmental friendliness do remain among the essential considerations.

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“Bohol is environmentally sensitive,” Chatto said, even if the province is firm and tough in its pursuit to bridge the power demand and supply gap between today and years beyond.   

OTHER PRIORITIES ALSO WORKED ON

Meanwhile, Chatto worked on other priorities of big impact on Bohol development during his Manila meeting with fellow governors in the country on Friday.

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They outlined the agenda commonly pushed by the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) for execution starting in 2018.

The major league programs include the continuity of the KALSADA, an unprecedented program of national annual allocation with the local counterpart to improve not just provincial but city roads as well.

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Chatto, who is the LPP national secretary-general, has been reputed as the brain of KALSADA, which was first adopted in the past administration.

The administration of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte has sustained the program even if it has been renamed the Conditional Matching Grant for Local Road Repair, Rehabilitation, and Improvement.

The governors’ agenda will also expand the scope of the tourism road convergence program to pave well access routes to other tourist sites, thereby improving more municipal and barangay roads.

On health, Chatto said the construction of the new P2.2 billion Gov. Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital in Cortes will start once the P500 million major improvement of the existing hospital facility in Tagbilaran City is finished.

Chatto also raised support for the third Tagbilaran City-Panglao island bridge via Dauis in anticipation of the gradual, even sudden, upsurge of development once the Panglao Bohol airport will operate in mid-2018.

An initial P500 million will jumpstart the construction of the offshore connector bridge, the longest and the first of its kind in Bohol, hopefully, next year, the governor said.

The top Bohol official at the same time secured some P300 million for the widening and improvement of the access roads to the new airport.

While in Manila, Chatto met with the expert Boholano members of the University of the Philippines (UP) Advisory Council on other more concerns impacting on Bohol development in both near and far future.

These include the Negros-Cebu-Bohol-Leyte (NECEBOLEY) interconnection bridges which have been proposed for technical and financial feasibility studies.

National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Sec. Ernesto Pernia hosted the conference at the NEDA Board Room. 

Before his Manila commitments, Chatto attended in Cebu City the two-day workshop on national and regional strategic priorities and sustainable development goals alignment conducted by the Department of Interior and Local Government.

Chatto and his fellow Central Visayas governors were also invited to join Philippine National Police Dir. Gen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa in marking the 116th Police Service Anniversary in the region. 

GOOD PLAN FOR ‘POWER’ FUTURE

While working on the other indicators of growth, Chatto said there really is no substitute for a good public-private participatory planning to meet the demand for reliable, sustainable and resilient electricity.

Further, after the recent 34-country Asian energy forum here, the governor got a fuller Department of Energy support for the Cebu-Bohol power interconnection by 2020 for power redundancy with the existing Leyte link.

The timetable is two years before Bohol will finally have huge capacity inland power generation facilities pursuant to the One Bohol Power initiative of the government and industry key players themselves.

For present back-up, the power barge, which has a 26-megawatt effective capacity, now moored at the Tapal wharf in Ubay is set for commissioning after the completion of its transmission line early next month. (Ven rebo Arigo)

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