Friday, 18 September 2009

Philippines eyes eight geothermal sites

Amy R. Remo
Philippine Daily Inquirer

THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY plans to offer to investors about eight prospective sites for geothermal exploration, development and direct utilization for power generation and other applications under the fourth Philippine Energy Contracting Round 2009.

Energy Assistant Secretary Mario Marasigan said the government had been studying the geothermal sources in the eight areas, of which two prospective sites have been validated.

Marasigan said the two prospects, which could generate a combined 50 megawatts of power, were in the extension of the Makiling-Banahaw (Mak-Ban) geothermal field and in Camarines.

The DOE is now preparing for the said contracting round. It is expected to publish the rules and invitations within the next six weeks, he said.

The Philippines is the world’s second largest producer of geothermal energy, next to the United States, with 1,978 MW capacity. This accounts for about 17 percent of the country’s generation mix, which means that one in every six light bulbs is powered by geothermal energy.

In terms of geothermal reserves, the Philippines has been reported to have sufficient resources to produce over 1,000 MW of energy.

According to the DOE, the government targets to draw an additional 1,070 MW from geothermal energy sources by 2020, up from the 1,932 MW capacity in 2002. As of this year, the country draws 2,027 MW from geothermal resources.

And with the PECR in place, the government is hoping to encourage the private sector to participate more in its energy independence program that aims to reduce dependence on imported fuels.

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