With climate woes worsening energy insecurity, geothermal is key–EDC

By Lenie Lectura -October 8, 201941
from Business Mirror

Energy Development Corp.’s Mount Apo geothermal plant.

LOPEZ-LED Energy Development Corp. (EDC) said Monday that geothermal energy is key to achieving the country’s goal to move toward attaining energy security amid worsening climate-related challenges.

“Since geothermal energy can provide continuous power 24 hours a day, it serves as the best source of baseload power,” said Marvin Kenneth S. Bailon, head of EDC’s business development, market planning and contracts on Monday.

To date, EDC has a geothermal capacity of 1,181 megawatts (MW) or 60 percent of the country’s total geothermal output.

He said geothermal energy is abundant in Negros and Leyte where most of EDC’s geothermal assets are located. For almost 40 years, EDC has been powering the islands with what is considered the “holy grail” of renewable-energy sources.

The abundance of renewable-energy sources in both islands gives them the edge over other parts of the country.

“Studies have repeatedly pointed out that the Philippines is the third most vulnerable country to climate-related hazards and we need to take bold action to reverse that. One decisive step we can take is to transform our energy sector and the islands of Negros and Leyte show that it is possible and now even a reality,” added Bailon.

Most important, apart from being more eco-friendly, electricity generated from geothermal sources is helping consumers enjoy more competitively priced power rates, according to Bailon.

The Philippines is currently the world’s third-largest producer of geothermal energy after the United States and Indonesia, mostly because of EDC, which accounts for 61 percent of the country’s current installed capacity.

EDC’s 711.4-MW Leyte Geothermal Project is home to its largest geothermal facility and has the biggest wet steam field in the world.  The facility supplies power to Leyte II Electric Cooperative and Leyte III Electric Cooperative in the province of Leyte and several other electric cooperatives in the Visayas region.

On the other hand, EDC’s Southern Negros Geothermal Project supplies 2 MW to Negros Oriental I Electric Cooperative, 25 MW to Negros Oriental II Electric Cooperative, 20 MW to Central Negros Electric Cooperative and 3 MW to Northern Negros Electric Cooperative. These comprise around 16 percent of the island’s power supply out of its peak demand of 312 MW.

“With the examples set by the provinces of Negros and Leyte, we are optimistic that a greener energy future lies in store for the entire country,” Bailon said.

Assistant Secretary Robert Uy of the Department of Energy (DOE) earlier said the agency is looking at ways by which the government can provide assistance to the development of geothermal sources through both fiscal and nonfiscal incentives.

A geothermal player normally spends between $30 million and 50 million just to explore potential geothermal resources. It cannot recoup its investment should exploration work turn out unsuccessful.

He also suggested that geothermal developers look into sources that are beyond conventional like medium to low enthalpy and acidic geothermal energy source.

“The DOE is also procuring MT equipment for geophysical surveys. With this and the technically capable personnel from the Geothermal Energy Management Division, the DOE has now the capabilities to conduct preliminary exploratory studies that can prequalify geothermal areas and significantly reduce the resource risk. With this lessened risks, we envision that investing in geothermal energy development will be more palatable for both local and international developers,” said Uy.

Image Credits: EDC