ABOITIZ-OWNED Hydroelectric Development Corporation (Hedcor) administered on Tuesday the groundbreaking of Bineng Combined Hydro in La Trinidad, Benguet to increase the current capacity of Bineng 1, 2, and 2b from 5.48 megawatts to 19 megawatts.
The 19 megawatts run-of-river hydropower technology is expected to generate 62-million kilowatt-hours annually, utilizing the river from Balili River wherein the P1.7 billion project is estimated to be finished by June 2019.
Hedcor senior vice president Chris Faelnar said the Bineng project would signify the increase of benefits that will go to the communities.
"Once this is commissioned, we will be delivering power to the grid, from the grid it will now be distributed to the different electric utilities or cooperatives," Faelnar said.
"As Hedcor does whenever we are in our host communities the communities around can benefit from the revenue of the plant. We also give voluntary shares from the IPs, to the barangays and the communities, the province and the municipalities as well as we generate a lot of jobs during the construction," Faelnar said.
Expanding to make one big plant, the three Bineng hydropower plants constructed in 1991, one of the first hydropower plants operated in the province, will be decommissioned and dismantled next year.
Hedcor currently operates 22 hydropower plants in different parts of the country with the upcoming inauguration of a 69 MW Manolo Fortich project in Bukidnon.
Earlier this year, the Barangays Bineng, Alapang, Alno and La Trindad approved the project through the signing of memorandum of agreements.
During the ceremonial groundbreaking, La Trinidad Mayor Romeo Salda encouraged the stakeholders to support the project.
"If we still have problems that we will encounter while this project is ongoing, please ask barangay officials. We have also municipal ordinance that all projects undertaken, the priority labor will come from Bineng, Alno and Alapang. All stakeholders will benefit after this project will be completed," said the mayor.
Indigenous People representative Pendon Thompson said since the opening of the Bineng hydro power plant in 1990, the project was also done through consultation despite the absence of the IPRA.
"With the strong belief of our culture sensitivity, the company were able to respect the elder leaders of this barangay. The concern and issues which was issued by the elder leaders by the barangay was addressed," said Thompson.
"We are glad to have the support of the local government units, the IPs and the community as a whole. Hedcor has been in the community for 26 years and with the Bineng Combination project, the existing shares, taxes and Corporate Social responsibility projects to the barangay, municipal and the province will also increase," Aboitz Power Executive Director Chris Sangster.
Provincial administrator Noel Ngolob said the project will bring benefits to both the project proponent and the community.
"Bineng has the lowest in income and population and we believe that with the entry of the project in Bineng, Bineng will be the richest in the municipality of La Trinidad," Ngolob said.