100 Shariff Kabunsuan homes energized by AMORE
by Malu C. Manar
ICC Cotabato City (11 November) -- Some 100 homes in a former war-torn village of Buldon, Shariff Kabunsuan, were energized following the construction of a micro-hydro power plant was completed over the weekend.
The Alliance for Mindanao Off-grid Renewable Energy (AMORE), a program funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), led the construction on November last year of a 35-kW power plant using as source the Kumaguingking River in Barangay Karim, Buldon.
AMORE chief Tetchi Cruz-Capellan said the micro-hydro energy system, already an established technology, was the most realistic way to bring power to remote mountain villages.
"It is easy to install and operate, and is cheap and sustainable. With the renewable energy law in place, more rivers can be tapped to help poor families in remote villages have access to light," she said.
The micro-hydro power facility, mainly designed for lighting only, will enable each household to avail of a maximum 81,637 kWh annually, according to Amore.
The facility has benefited both residents of Barangay Karim and nearby Minabay, isolated for decades due to armed fighting.
A 73-year old Songcarang Dimasindil, former leader of Barangay Karim, was among those who appreciated the project.
"My heart bleeds every time I see my children and great-grandchildren live in darkness for so many years. But today, the place is no longer dark," he told Amore.
At first, Dimasindil was indifferent when Amore representatives, together with Winrock International, went to their place a couple of years ago to propose the construction of a micro-hydro plant using the Kumaguingking River.
"Later did we realize the enormous potential of that river," he said.
Although Dimasindil only lived few days after the light came into his village, he was grateful the project reached his place.
Through a hydrological study conducted by Winrock International, they were able to determine the strength and reliability of the Kumaguingking River.
By November 2007, after the studies yielded positive results, the construction began.
With the funds amounting to P7.4 million, the 35 kW micro-hydro plant was completed last May 2008.
As part of the equity of the village, the residents helped in the construction.
Together, they dug and cemented more than a kilometer-long diversion canal from the Kumaguingking upstream."
The canal directs to a penstock and power house downstream, where the force of water is converted into electricity by a generator.
Starting July this year, the villagers started enjoying the lighting facility, the AMORE said. (NYP/jmd/PNA/PIA 12) [top]