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Philippines, Japanese teaming up for small hydro development

The Filipino government is hoping an agreement between its National Irrigation Administration and the Japan International Cooperation Agency will help cultivate small hydropower development.

The National Irrigation Administration -- an extension of the Philippines' Department of Energy (DOE) -- says the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has already begun feasibility studies for hydroelectric plants in the Isabela and Ifugao provinces, with more likely to come.

DOE earlier announced its plan to bid out 50 sites for small hydropower development with returns guaranteed through its feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme.

Combined with an earlier JICA study, more than 100 sites have been identified as being conducive to small hydropower development.

JICA has already committed about US$12 million to developing small hydro in the Philippines, although additional funds are a possibility pending successful implementation of the FIT program.

The long-delayed FIT program would guarantee renewable energy investors fixed rates that would be assumed by consumers over a set period of time, making renewable energy investments more attractive for developers.

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