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EDC in the Philippines Set to Pursue Geothermal Projects in Indonesia, Kenya and Peru

On September 18th it was reported that the Energy Development Corp or EDC intends to continue with its efforts in looking for more geothermal energy opportunities in Indonesia, Kenya and Peru. EDC is currently the biggest producer of geothermal energy in the Philippines.

Geothermal Activity in Indonesia

Geothermal Activity in Indonesia

EDC have publicly announced that there is already an application pending so they can gain access to survey rights within Indonesia and intends to extend this research to Kenya and Peru.

Richard Tantoco who is the CEO and President of EDC was reported as saying “we have more than 35 years experience and technical expertise in this field and we intend to expand our international resources so we can better understand the local settings”.

EDC already has well established offices in both Indonesia and Chile, and is now looking to set-up an office in Peru.

Tantoco was also reported as saying that EDC knows when developing a geothermal project, its takes up a lot of resources and time and doesn’t come without an element of risk. However, EDC has a proven track record, is financially stable and technical expertise that means we are confident we can expand our long-term prospects internationally.

EDC did recently drop a couple of projects in Chile, however it was reported by Malaya Business Insight News that EDC has now confirmed its commitment to developing geothermal resources further within the country.

In July 2012 there were projects due to go ahead in the Langavi and Calerias areas in Chile but this was found not to be viable commercially.

This however, has not put EDC off; they intend to continue with finding more geothermal sites in Chile and have pledged to build the country’s first geothermal plant.

There are a number of areas EDC is looking at perusing within Chile and these are San Rafael, Batea and Newen (among others). They plan to start preliminary surveys in these areas for geothermal very soon.

Mt. Makiling Has its Third Geothermal Well Completed

A consortium which is currently operating in the Maibarara steam field has just completed a new geothermal well which has been drilled on the Western side of Mt. Makiling.

A company by the name of Maibarara Geothermal Inc. has completed the drilling of this well in order to supplement the production from another two existing wells in the steam field. This is where the company intends to build a geothermal plant capable of a 20MW output.

Mount Makiling - Satellite View

Mount Makiling – Satellite View

MGI president named F.G. Delfin Jr was reported as saying the actual output of the plant will be determined later this year.

At a cost of P2.4 Billion, MGI intend to have the Maibarara geothermal plant fully operational by 2013.

The projects third well began drilling on July 10th and finished 14 days ahead of schedule on August 10th.

One of the existing wells Maibarara was responsible for also needed some work doing as a result of “shallow blockages” which had accumulated over time.

In addition to the third well being drilled MGI are intending to start work on fourth well which will have the ability to re-inject condensed liquids so they can be discharged to the proposed 20MW geothermal plant.

This is the first renewable energy project which was originally initiated by the Renewable Energy Act of 2008. This act granted both non-fiscal and fiscal incentives to developers interested in producing green power and help boost the industry’s growth.

MGI has 65% of its stake controlled by PetroGreen Energy Corp, Trans-Asia Oil and Energy Corp controls 25% and Philippine National Oil Co Renewable Corp owns 10%.

DOE Is Going to Double the Capacity for Geothermal by 2020

On Wednesday, the Department of Energy reported that it intends to increase its geothermal capacity to 2,000 MW by 2020.

Speaking at the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise Seminar, Energy Secretary for New Zealand, Jose Rene D. Almendras said that experts based in Auckland will start to share its geothermal technology developments after helping the Philippines develop its geothermal energy over the past 30 years.

Currently, the Philippines is second in the world when it comes to producing geothermal energy and this has all come about as a result of the help from New Zealand; the Philippines now has a capacity of almost 2,000 MW coming only 2nd to the US which has a geothermal capacity of 3,000 MW. Compared to New Zealand’s capacity of 700 MW there is a vast difference.

Almendras was also reported as saying that both countries have to step up their relationship and we’re pushing for more interaction on every level. “Geothermal energy companies in the Philippines and New Zealand will be brought more closely together and there is currently a campaign underway to invite these companies to come and see what opportunities we have”.

Wellington, New Zealand

Wellington, New Zealand

Back in the 1970’s New Zealand started a program in order for the Philippines to make use of the geothermal energy sources they have there and was responsible for helping not only the technical aspects but also the financial aspect by offering grants to Manila. A lot of the engineers based in The Philippines were trained at the University Geothermal Institute under the New Zealand program.

New Zealand’s Foreign Minister, Murray S. McCully told reporters that “New Zealand is one of the top countries when it comes to expertise in the form of geothermal energy and has had a long and happy relationship with The Philippines in that respect”. He also said that as the world seeks for more geothermal energy sources, the cooperation between New Zealand and The Philippines can only help.

McCully also said that if both New Zealand and The Philippines share the knowledge they have this can only help such places as South America and Indonesia to develop their geothermal projects further.

McCully told reporters that because of their relationship, both countries are world leaders in terms of geothermal energy and by coming together they can only help further investment.

Geothermal Energy – A New Frontier Analysis

In the past, Central America and its energy industry was state-owned and did have a wide range of domestically sourced energy. However, during the 1980’s and 1990’s many reforms took place which lead to the privatization of the energy sector. Both “shock therapy” and Structural Adjustment Programs were enforced by the IMF; unfortunately, these reforms meant that Central America’s energy sector became hugely dependent on traditional fuels such as oil and fossil fuels, plus the energy grid as a whole was ineffective.

Central America

Central America

Central America

Central America’s energy sector has long been known for its inefficiency with constant black-outs, price spikes at petrol pumps and electricity rations. When the global energy crisis occurred in 2005, Central America announced a maximum alert with regards to its energy sector. This meant big changes were on the way and countries such as El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua’s Governments pledged to increase the use of renewable energy.

Central America’s west coast is situated on the “Pacific Ring of Fire” which is considered to be a hot-spot for renewable energy, if implemented correctly; this area could be used to provide geothermal energy to many parts of the region. The Pacific Ring of Fire actually holds the potential for 2,580 MW in energy which is heat based and is enough to provide energy to around 1.5 million homes compared to consumption in the US.


The Guatemalan Government privatized its energy sector in 1998; before privatization took place, Guatemala met 92% of its domestic energy demands however, in 2005 imports of petroleum stood at 58% of the energy use.

Flores, Guatemala

Flores, Guatemala

Geothermal was actually born in Guatemala in the early 1970’s and was pioneered by a Japanese development agency. The main hot spot for geothermal energy is in the Pacaya volcano which is still active to this day. The Guatemalan Government expects to be utilizing at least 60% of its energy from geothermal sources by 2022 and has introduced tax breaks in order to attract geothermal development companies. There are currently 2 working geothermal plants in Guatemala however, the capacity they have is as yet un-known.

El Salvador

El Salvador has gone one step further than Guatemala in terms of when the country started to explore geothermal energy, this began back in the early 1950’s and was only stopped when the civil war took place between 1980 and 1992. Once the civil war was over, the El Salvador Government resumed its research into geothermal energy and put various reforms in place. Currently, due to the amount of effort that has gone into geothermal energy in El Salvador, it has managed to reach 24% of its overall demand for energy. This makes it one of the top 10 countries in the world making use of geothermal energy.

There are two working geothermal plants in El Salvador, one has the capacity for 95 MW and the other has the capacity for 109 MW.


Nicaragua has had a colorful history in terms of geothermal energy and still has some catching up to do. Currently, this country has a privatized energy sector but still imports enough oil to provide energy for 70% of the country. However, the Minister for Energy has stated that he would like to see 20% of oil imports reduced by the end of 2012 and for the country to be using geothermal energy in its place. Nicaragua currently has two working geothermal plants and although they are capable of a capacity of 77 and 72 MW respectively, they only output 10 MW and 24 MW; this is set to be increased.

Apo Sandawa and a Lesson to be learned

Whilst geothermal is possibly one the greenest forms of energy, we do well to learn a lesson from the Lumad people who live in the Philippines. These people regard a mountain called Mt. Apo to be sacred and when it was suggested that a geothermal plant be built there, it caused all sorts of trouble. To this day, there are arguments going on about whether the plant can indeed be built. This serves as a lesson to us all in that we have to be vigilant about how geothermal energy plants affect the areas around them.

Source: Aisha Espey, Research Associate at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs

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