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Rehab of first unit at Ambuklao hydropower project to be completed in September

The rehabilitation of the first of three units at the Ambuklao hydroelectric power plant, purchased from the Philippine government by a joint venture, will be completed in September, company officials reported.

A joint venture between Norway's Statkraft Norfund Power Invest AS and Aboitiz Power Corp., SNAP bought the Ambuklao and Binga hydro projects for $325 million.

Emmanuel Lopez, SNAP Power Benguet Inc. site manager, said the company has scheduled the completion of the plant's three units on Sept. 20, Oct. 26 and Nov. 27, respectively, or long after a lingering dry spell is seen to have dissipated, wire reports indicate.

SNAP acquired the hydro facility, which was packaged with the 100-MW Binga hydro project, in an auction conducted by state-run Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. in November 2007.

Under the terms of the Ambuklao project sale, SNAP has to rehabilitate the plant, which has been shut down since 1999 as a result of damages caused by an earthquake, media reports indicate.

SNAP has been rehabilitating the plant since September 2008 and has spent about $140 million out of the $280 million it has budgeted for this purpose.

Once completed, Lopez said that Ambuklao's rated capacity will increase to 105 megawatts from the current 75 megawatts.

SNAP also plans to upgrade the 100-MW Binga hydro project, which is set for completion by 2013.

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