EDC plans to drill two geothermal prospects

 EDC plans to drill two geothermal prospects

LOPEZ-LED Energy Development Corp. (EDC) is further expanding its geothermal power generation capacity in the Philippines with two prospects scheduled for drilling next year, its president said.

Richard B. Tantoco, EDC president and chief operating officer, said between now and next year, the renewable energy arm of listed First Gen Corp. would be “in the middle of a major build-out — seven new facilities.”

“By [the] end of next year, we are intending to drill in two new exploration areas. One is Amacan in Mindanao — this is going to be exciting subject to obtaining the permits,” he said in a media briefing last week, identifying the other area as “Mandalagan.”

Mr. Tantoco said EDC has a total of 90 megawatts (MW) of pipeline projects, which include four power generation projects and three battery energy storage systems with a potential capacity of 40 MW.

“The investments for these, all together, [are] between P26 [billion and] P27 billion, and we are going to start drilling these two prospect areas,” he said.

Mr. Tantoco said EDC’s Palayan Bayan, which has a capacity of 28.9 MW, is scheduled for commercial operations by August or October this year. Mindanao 3, which has a capacity of 3.6 MW, was inaugurated last year. Both projects are binary power plants, which use brine from existing geothermal power facilities to generate energy without the need for new drilling.

He said the Tanawon project, which has a capacity of 20 MW, and the Mahanagdong geothermal brine optimization plant with a capacity of 28 MW will be coming online in a couple of years.

Mr. Tantoco said the renewable energy company also has offshore wind concessions, which he placed at about 3 gigawatts (GW). He identified these to be in the provinces of Guimaras, Iloilo, and Negros Occidental, which the company plans to develop by 2030.

“I think the situation right now, not just here in the Philippines, but across the region, the concession holders are getting approached by people with capital and expertise,” he said, adding that it is too early to talk about partnerships.

NO COMPLETE EXIT FROM PERUMeanwhile, Mr. Tantoco said the company is not completely exiting its Peru geothermal project.

“We are looking for those assets, maybe a better parent or a partner. As a foreign company, maybe there will be a local conglomerate there [that] can work with us. We have been looking,” he said.

In a stock exchange disclosure on May 26, First Gen said the board of directors and stockholders of its subsidiary Energy Development Corp. Peru S.A.C. had agreed to withdraw exploration and development activities in Peru “due to political and market factors.”

“[The exit] is more on manpower, but the progress is on slowdown,” Francis Giles B. Puno, president and chief operating officer of First Gen, earlier told reporters.

“We have to face the fact that we have to prioritize the investments here than there, but when the time comes, we will restart. We hope to restart all of those at some point down the road especially when the market, regulatory environment and incentives are aligned,” he said.

EDC has an installed capacity of 1,480.19 MW of renewable energy, of which 1185.40 MW comes from geothermal sources. — Ashley Erika O. Jose