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Storm damage closes Bakun

LESS THAN ONE YEAR after its late September 2000 commissioning, a typhoon has shut down the 70MW Bakun run-of-river project in Luzon, northern Philippines.

Unspecified damage caused by typhoon Utor on 4-5 July 2001 is expected to take up to two months to repair. It is anticipated that normal operations will be resumed in September 2001.

Owned and operated by Luzon Hydro Corporation, a 50:50 joint venture between Aboitiz Equity Ventures (AEV) subsidiary Benquet Hydro Corporation and Australian developer Pacific Hydro, Bakun operates under a 25-year ‘take or pay’ US dollar denominated power purchase agreement with the Philippines National Power Corporation. The project is insured against plant damage and revenue losses during such stoppages, AEV told the Manila Stock Exchange on 2 August 2001.

Bakun was commissioned some three months behind schedule last year at a total cost of US$150M. The scheme consists of an 11m high concrete weir across the Bakun river that diverts water to a 9.4km tunnel and penstock to drive two twin-runner, twin-jet horizontal Pelton turbines. Turbine rated capacity is 17.5MW per runner, or 35MW per unit.

Typhoon Utor caused over 100 deaths in Luzon and severely damaged or destroyed some 12,000 homes before moving on to Taiwan and mainland China.