Sustaining our future through Geo 24/7
As the population rapidly increases, demand for basic needs such as food, water, and energy also increases. This creates an increasingly vicious cycle where human activities adversely impact the environment and threaten natural resources. As a result, nations around the world are seeking ways to break the cycle and to establish a resilient future through sustainable practices in business and society. The need for such radical action is more apparent nowhere else than in the Philippines, which is one of the most vulnerable countries to the devastating impact of our changing climate.
Super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) that struck our country in 2013 was truly an eye-opener for Lopez-led geothermal leader and First Gen Corporation subsidiary, Energy Development Corporation (EDC), as well as the rest of the Lopez Group of companies. Doing business, as usual, will no longer work if we want our future generations to have a livable planet in the future.
This motivated the conglomerate led by its Chairman Federico R. Lopez to make a bold decision to help the country decarbonize by generating power only from renewable energy sources instead of coal.
“These are extraordinary times that call for extraordinary change and everyone must shift to thinking about the quickest route to a decarbonized economy,” said First Philippine Holdings (FPH) and EDC Chairman and CEO Federico R. Lopez.
Making the shift to RE
Operating in a country that is still primarily powered by coal, the commitment is an uphill battle for EDC but it has managed to be a beacon of hope for a low-carbon economy by sustainably generating power from geothermal for over 40 years.
Our country is blessed with indigenous sources of energy that are virtually free and inexhaustible. And to harness these full potential, EDC has enriched its portfolio with 1,181 megawatts (MW) of geothermal, 150 MW of wind, 132 MW of hydroelectric power, and 12 MW of solar totaling 1,475 MW that accounts for 37% of the country’s total generated renewable energy (RE), making it the Philippines’ largest 100% RE firm.
For over 40 years, EDC has been expertly harnessing geothermal energy, considered as the Holy Grail among RE technologies since it is the only one that can provide uninterrupted power all year round among all forms of RE. Hence, EDC refers to its own way of generating this form of power as Geo 24/7.
Geo 24/7 likewise encapsulates EDC’s sustainable business practices that enhances the environment and empowers its host communities.
While the company’s social forestry program incentivized farmers from its partner communities who helped maintain its watersheds since the 1980s, EDC took a big leap in managing its geothermal reservations in 2008 by applying a science-based approach to bridging forest gaps through BINHI program.
A Filipino term for germling, BINHI is the company’s greening legacy program that aims to bridge forest gaps and bring back abundance 96 threatened indigenous tree species.
EDC’s BINHI-led forest protection and restoration initiatives as it manages close to 1% of our country’s total land area capture 3.96 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) each year. This is on top of its avoided 7.8 million tons of CO2 as a result of generating power from 100% RE sources. This makes EDC carbon-negative as the forests that it maintains absorb close to five times its actual annual carbon emissions from its operation. As a result, the company helps the Philippines reduce its carbon intensity by 15%.
While its vision of having a country that is sustainably powered by RE has yet to be achieved, EDC has been making headway in ensuring energy security in major regions of the country, providing the needed regulating reserve capacity to the grid.
EDC’s experience attests to Geo 24/7’s capacity to provide clean reliable baseload power to the Philippines.Through its pioneering steps, efforts in utilizing renewable energy may yet prove to be the hope and stabilizing factor in the midst of many challenges facing our nation today.
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