by Alena Mae S. Flores – August 14, 2016 at 11:35 pm
from Manila Standard Today
Energy Development Corp. said over the weekend the 60-megawatt expansion of the Southern Negros Geothermal Power Plant in Valencia, Negros Oriental will not encroach into a biodiversity area.
EDC, the country’s biggest geothermal energy producer, is expanding Southern Negros Geothermal’s capacity to 282.5 MW from 222.5 MW to meet the region’s growing electricity needs.
“We will confine our expansion within SNGP’s existing geothermal production block in Valencia,” EDC’s Negros Integrated Geothermal Business Unit head Jay Joel Soriano said.
EDC recently organized a recent site visit for various stakeholders to the Southern Negros Geothermal power plant in Valencia, Negros Oriental to dispel allegations against the expansion plan.
Reports from some quarters said EDC’s expansion required an additional 5,163 hectares that would encroach into Mount Talinis, considered a key biodiversity area in Negros Oriental.
EDC, however, said the expansion involved an increase in capacity, not the area.
Southern Negros Geothermal’s existing geothermal production or development block spans 5,163 hectares in the Palinpinon-Okoy watershed in Valencia, which is physically separate from Mount Talinis.
Southern Negros Geothermal’s steam field and power plant occupy less than 200 hectares, and EDC assured the expansion would be confined within the existing development block of 5,163 hectares.
“I believe the issue about SNGP’s plan to expand by another 5,163 hectares is a result of a misunderstanding, because the supposed additional expansion area corresponds to our existing development block,” Soriano said.
“But as we have been saying, we are not in Mount Talinis and we are not going to Mount Talinis,” he said.
EDC is awaiting the release of the environmental compliance certificate from the Environment Department for the 60-MW geothermal expansion.
The company said the proposed expansion went through public consultations and hearings for the ECC application and received the strong endorsement for an ECC from the host communities and local government of Valencia.
“But pending the release of the ECC, EDC has not begun any activity for its proposed geothermal expansion project,” Soriano said.