Maibarara geothermal project gears up for expansion

by Myrna Velasco, 12 April 2015
from Manila Bulletin

The 20-megawatt Maibarara geothermal power project could further help shore up capacity addition in the Luzon grid with its planned expansion kicking off soon.

According to PetroEnergy Resources Corporation Vice President Francisco G. Delfin, the company and its partners are still poised to go ahead with the planned 10-megawatt expansion for the facility.

He stressed that steam extraction in the Maibarara geothermal field can still be optimized “due to advancement in drilling technology” – which was jumpstarted by the oil sector then replicated in other energy resources.

The Maibarara project has added to capacity in Luzon around 2013 – and with the criticality of supply from 2014 to this year, it was a sure boost to scant supply in the power grid.

PetroEnergy is the project operator and majority stakeholder in the corporate vehicle. It is in partnership with the Trans-Asia Oil and Energy Development Corporation with 25-percent equity and the Philippine National Oil Company-Renewables Corporation with 10-percent stake in the venture.

The facility’s construction was mainly bankrolled by a P2.4-billion loan secured from the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation and the Bank of the Philippine Islands.

Beyond the much-needed additional power capacity it has been injecting to the grid, the Maibarara geothermal project could also bring added value to developers via the carbon credits it may be able to corner from the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The project blueprint has set for an integrated development of steamfield, power plant and transmission facilities – that was to ensure the wheeling of the facility’s generated electricity to the grid.

The Philippines has always been known to be well-endowed with geothermal resources, but developers are also re-assessing risks when it comes to project implementation – primarily in tracking the viable sites for drilling activities.

In a span of several years, the Maibarara project was considerably the only addition to geothermal-based greenfield capacity. The other industry players though are also aggressively pursuing new developments in various parts of the country.

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