EDC asks for FIT to help prioritize geothermal development in Philippines

Richard Tantoco, President and COO of EDC (source: EDC)
Alexander Richter 12 May 2016

Energy Development Corporation in the Philippines is suggesting a feed-in-tariff for geothermal of up to $0.13/ kWh to incentivize development and a level playing field based on real cost.

At the recent stockholder meeting of Philippines-based Energy Development Corporation (EDC), the company’s president Richard B. Tantoco indicated that a feed-in-tariff for geothermal should be implemented to create a level playing field.

With a FIT, geothermal would be highly viable, e.g. with a tariff of $0.10-0.13 per kWh. In his statement he said that “If you take a look at the FIT that we’re giving to solar and wind, and you add the costs of intermittency – at P0.60 to P0.90 per kWh, it costs a lot to bring them in…why are we not prioritizing geothermal,” he opined.

In the current environment landscape, he noted that geothermal projects would not be as attractive because if their capacities are offered to off-takers like the distribution utilities (DUs), they cannot compete with coal.

Nevertheless, he emphasized that if the country is serious with its commitment at the United Nations-led 21st Conference of the Parties (COP) on a low carbon energy future, then it should incentivize technologies that will bring it into attaining that goal.

He said the potential for additional geothermal capacities could hover at 1,100 to 1,400 megawatts based on the development lead set by the Department of Energy. The country’s developed geothermal capacity is currently at 1,900MW.

Tantoco said the FIT incentives could be aligned for greenfield or future geothermal developments, if extending to existing facilities or projects would not be palatable to policymakers.

EDC director Francis Giles B. Puno added that “the holy grail is to be able to do baseload – the geothermal can do baseload but it should be encouraged more.”

Tantoco stressed that a cap on installation may also be enforced – similar to what is being done with the other RE technologies.

He said the DOE could “give an initial cap of a few hundred,” but qualifying the fact that “they (government policy framers) have to recognize also that geothermal will take time from the time you explore to the time the first kilowatt-hour is produced – you’re looking at six years.”

Source: Manila Bulletin