EDC seeks perks on geothermal projects

Geothermal leader Energy Development Corp. urged the government to grant incentives to the development of geothermal energy to provide not only clean and reliable power but also jobs and livelihood to local communities.

“The Philippines has vast geothermal potential. To spur the development of this untapped geothermal potential, we urge the government to incentivize the development of geothermal,” EDC president Richard Tantoco said.

Tantoco said geothermal is “the holy grail of renewable energy” being the cleanest, most reliable and readily available. 

He said in contrast, coal power generation was identified as the greatest contributor to climate change with almost 61 percent of global carbon emissions coming from energy and industrial processes.

He said a simple pivot to renewable energy sources could mitigate the climate change problem. 

“As much as 93 percent of total carbon emissions and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere can be addressed if the energy sector moves toward power generation from cleaner sources,” he said.

Coal accounted for more than 50 percent of the country’s energy mix in 2018, he said.

“For the longest time, coal has been the baseload power of choice, due to the misconception that it is cheap. The truth is coal has externalities in addition to the ex-plant price and these have not been priced into the illusory ‘least cost’ equation,” said Tantoco.

He said that as much as 90 percent of coal utilized in Philippine energy production was imported, placing the country under the mercy of volatile foreign currency movements.

Tantoco said the growth in demand and advancements in technology such as energy storage had led to renewable energy becoming increasingly cheaper. Alena Mae S. Flores

“We now have a choice. This is how we would like to imagine an ideal grid―with geothermal as baseload power, natural gas as mid-merit or transition fuel, solar for daytime peak, and hydro, wind, and battery as a complement,” he said.

EDC is also exploring geothermal opportunities in Taiwan in partnership with a local partner in the area. 

EDC director Francis Giles Puno said they were in talks with potential partners for possible geothermal development in Taiwan.

“We’ve always been in the international arena. Except that in the international arena, …we’ve not focused on areas where we don’t feel we have a competitive advantage. The competitive advantage of First Gen is in geothermal, so that’s where we choose to play in the international area,” Puno said.

He said there were geothermal concessions in Taiwan that EDC, an affiliate of Lopez-led First Gen Corp., was currently looking at.

“That’s why we’re working with the proponents to see what we can do to develop those concessions. We’re talking to a number of local partners…We can work with the utilities there, and many of them are substantially untapped, potential. They need expertise as well. In that sense, EDC can provide the expertise,” Puno said.

He said the company remained interested in geothermal prospects in Indonesia but was still waiting for developments in the political front.

Topics: Energy Development Corp. , geothermal energy , Richard Tantoco , renewable energy
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