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Saturday, December 9, 2023

EDC plans to invest P60b to drill 40 geothermal wells

Geothermal power producer Energy Development Corp. plans to drill 40 new wells over the next three years with capital investments of P60 billion to sustain and expand the operations of its geothermal projects, a top executive said Monday.

“The main focus of EDC over the next three years is to make sure that we can continue to deliver the amount of renewable source of geothermal for our customers,” EDC vice chairman and chief executive Francis Giles Puno said at the sidelines of the Net Zero Carbon Alliance (NZCA) conference.

“Part of that is a need to drill close to 40 wells over the next three years… to make sure that we can continue to extract sustainable steam from the ground,” Puno said.

Most of EDC’s drilling operations will be in Leyte and Mt. Apo in Mindanao.

The company owns and operates the 232.5-megawatt Malitbog, 180-MW Mahanagdong, 125-MW Upper Mahiao, 123 MW Tongonan and 50.9-MW Optimization geothermal projects in Leyte.

“ Roughly, when you think about it, P30 billion [is needed[ for the drilling operations, roughly another P30 billion to finish. Over the next three years, that’s a lot of capital for the operations,” Puno said.

He said EDC’s P60-billion capital expenditures for geothermal project would come from internally-generated funds.

Puno said a reliable supply from baseload geothermal energy gives EDC the ability to deliver more renewable energy sources to customers.

EDC president Jerome Cainglet said in the same event that numerous organizations and companies expressed interest to be part of NZCA—a pioneering consortium of Philippine enterprises committed toward collective net-zero carbon in local business.

“This is a strong indication that many businesses are now aware of the need to step up their decarbonization programs,” Cainglet said.

Initiated by First Gen-owned EDC, NZCA aims to engage with corporations in the Philippines to achieve carbon neutrality as a transition to net zero by 2050.

The forum on Monday was organized in partnership with Eco-Business, Asia Pacific’s largest media and business intelligence organization dedicated to sustainable development and ESG performance, with the theme: “Zeroing in on Net-Zero: From Corporate Pledges to Action.”

“As always, climate action is a matter of urgency as we continue to experience the ever-increasing impacts of our warming planet around the world, most especially in the Philippines. NZCA aims to contribute practical measures toward decarbonization that Philippine businesses can take, starting with interventions such as renewable energy,” said NZCA executive director and EDC assistant vice president and corporate relations and communications head Allan Barcena.

The conference featured a panel of company and industry resource speakers who delved into the challenges and opportunities for Philippine corporations embarking on a net-zero journey and the available solutions for hard-to-abate and carbon-intensive sectors.

NZCA is guided by the carbon neutrality framework that it designed in partnership with Dr. Rodel Lasco, executive director of OML Center for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation.

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