Developers in the Philippines ask for specific geothermal technologies feed-in-tariff

Makban geothermal power plant, Philippines (source: ThinkGeoEnergy, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 16 Aug 2016

A group of geothermal developers in the Philippines is asking its government to implement a specific geothermal feed-in-tariff structure for emerging geothermal technologies.

A special geothermal feed-in-tariff for emerging technologies is still seen as a crucial element to push development of geothermal resources that are currently not yet commercially viable under existing market and pricing structures.

So a group of geothermal developers in the Philippines has urged the government to cover these emerging geothermal technologies under the feed-in-tariff scheme of the country.

The group expects such a FIT structure to help “address the barriers related to the high costs and resource exploration risks faced by geothermal energy developers”, so National Geothermal Association of the Philippines (NGAP).

According to NGAP, the DOE strategy should apply new development technologies to what previously were considered to be second-tier resources, such as technologies that could use acidic and young geothermal systems, development of low-heat geothermal systems and the direct use of small-scale geothermal energy technologies.

Exploration using these technologies was deemed to become more feasible should the DOE allow the coverage of these emerging technologies and new geothermal sources under the FIT program, which provides guaranteed payment to investors through a universal charge.

“On a bright note, the DOE is receptive to the proposal of including emerging technology in the array of RE projects that will be [given incentives] under the FIT system, based on the recommendation of the National Renewable Energy Board, which must carry out an extensive study on the proposal,” the NGAP added.

NGAP called on the government to expedite the regulatory and approval processes as well as ensure the peace-and-order situation in some of the more remote prospects. It also called for the prompt implementation of the Renewable Portfolio Standard and Green Energy Option under the Renewable Energy Act, which will give incentives to utilities to buy geothermal power.

The government, it added, also needed to address the special technical challenges faced by firms in tapping undeveloped geothermal resources, which require the adaptation of emerging technologies such as binary-cycle generation, ground source heat pumps and corrosion-resistant alloys.

NGAP includes Aboitiz Power, Chevron Geothermal Services, Department of Energy, Emerging Power Inc., Energy Development Corp., Maibarara Geothermal Inc. and Philippine Geothermal Production Co. Inc.

Source: Business Inquirer