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EDC calls for government support to push geothermal development in the Philippines

Southern Negros geothermal plant, Negros Oriental, Philippines (source: Mike Gonzalez, creative commons BY-SA 3.0)
Alexander Richter Alexander Richter 14 May 2018

The President and COO of Energy Development Corp. (EDC) in the Philippines calls upon the government to support geothermal development in the country, naming support on covering the up-front development risk and feed-in-tariffs as tools that could help the country.

With the Philippines having fallen behind Indonesia in the ranking of installed geothermal power generation ranking, this clearly has left a mark on the geothermal industry in the country.

In a statement to press today, Richard B. Tantoco, President and COO of Energy Development Corp. (EDC), urges the Philippines’ government to help with upfront risk in the development of geothermal resources.

“Globally, geothermal has always grown in government’s hands — whether it’s Costa Rica, Mexico… because government has unlimited balance sheet,” so the EDC President.

He made this statement, to push for the help of the government, not only for EDC, but also for the other 13 companies that have geothermal concession areas and could need help to cover that up-front development risk.

Another point that could help push development are feed-in-tariffs (essentially a PPA with the government), but key element is always the up-front risk element.

Energy Development Corp. (EDC) is the largest geothermal operator in the Philippines with 1,457.8 MW of geothermal power generation capacity in operation.

In Latin America, Mr. Tantoco refers to the Geothermal Development Facility as an example of a useful “grant-to-loan” program.

“So I’m going to give you money. It’s free if you drill. If the well doesn’t produce, you don’t owe me anything. It’s a grant. If it produces and later on it becomes a commercial project, you pay me back. It becomes a loan,” he said.

He said a similar policy could be adopted by the Philippines to spur the growth of the local geothermal industry.

EDC has had recent conversations with the World Bank and IFC to discuss possibilities on expanding the renewable energy industry. Both indicate wanting to support EDC.  ‘We want [them] to unleash risk financing and work with the government to simplify the permitting system,’” he said.

Source: Business World Online