EDC spending P60B to boost steam fields
MANILA -The Lopez family’s Energy Development Corp. (EDC) would be shelling out P60 billion in the next three years to drill 40 additional wells in four provinces to boost the capacity of its geothermal power plants, its top official said on Monday.
EDC vice chair and chief executive Francis Giles Puno explained that around P30 billion of the total would be used to fund drilling operations in Leyte, Davao, Albay and Sorsogon. The remaining amount, meanwhile, would be allotted for other “growth initiatives.”
According to Puno, steam extracted from the wells will be utilized to increase the 1,100-megawatt (MW) combined capacity of the company’s geothermal power plants. He did not disclose, however, how much capacity they expect to add.
Geothermal power plants need hydrothermal resources coming from dry steam wells or hot water wells to function and produce power.
EDC will also be doing workover procedures, which means that existing but problematic wells will have to be fixed or cleaned to jump-start steam activity in the holes. According to Medium.com, “a workover is an expensive operation, and it’s usually worth it only if there’s a serious problem or it could lead to a genuine increase in production.”
“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 [energy] for our customers,” Puno said at the Net Zero Carbon Alliance’s (NZCA) second anniversary conference held on Monday.
NZCA is a multisectoral consortium established by EDC in 2021 that seeks to achieve carbon neutrality by gathering best practices from partner companies.
Puno clarified that the drilling project would be done in phases, and that the budget would come from internally generated funding and loans.
“The only complication with geothermal … is that you need repeated investment to make sure that you can continue to extract more steam from the wells,” Puno added.
At present, EDC, the renewable energy unit of Lopez-led First Gen Corp., uses 482 wells in its 13 geothermal power plants for a combined capacity of 1,189.34 MW. Five plants are located in Leyte, two in the Bicol region, three in Negros Oriental and another three in Davao.
The power plants account for around 60 percent of the country’s total geothermal capacity.
In total, the company has over 1,500 MW of installed capacity covered by a portfolio of geothermal, hydropower, solar and wind assets in the Philippines. INQ