New Zealand Returns to Philippines to Develop $8B Geothermal Projects

Energy Development Corporation’s Palinpinon I geothermal steamfield project was one of the Philippines’ earliest development project that benefited from NZ expertise. Today, EDC has become master of wet steam technology catapulting the country into the number 2 spot in worldwide geothermal energy production (photo courtesy of Energy Development Corporation)

This is the 112.5MW geothermal steamfield in Palinpinon today. The project features compact development technology. The power generating plant is located beside the steamfield. Multi-well pads and directional drilling were employed in this project. (Photo courtesy of Energy Development Corporation)

The Philippines targets an additional 1,500-2,000 megawatts (MW) of generation capacity from geothermal projects worth as much as $8 billion, making the country the top geothermal producer in the world in two decades.

New Zealand geothermal industry leaders, in a forum yesterday, said they are ready to share their technologies and expertise to local firms.

“Certainly our target is to be the number one producer. With that additional capacity we are looking at, we hope we can surpass the US in terms of geothermal production,” said Energy Undersecretary Jose Layug Jr.

Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras and Layug said the Philippines aims to increase its geothermal capacity by 1,500-2,000 MW in 2020-2030.

To date, installed geothermal production capacity in the country is 1,972 MW, the second highest in the world next to the US.

“In terms of potential, there is still that additional capacity that we can tap into,” Layug said.

“It is a matter of making sure that these projects will be developed more cost efficiently because they are smaller in scale and therefore we anticipate the higher cost,” Layug said.

Benchmark investment for geothermal projects is $2 million to $4 million for every MW, said Mike Allen, steering committee chair of industry group Geothermal New Zealand. Hence, an additional 1,500-2,000 MW capacity will require $3-8 billion.

The Philippine government wants to work with New Zealand, which is an expert in geothermal energy.

“We will work with them for the resource assessment with existing geothermal resources,” Layug said.

“New Zealand [firms] have expressed interest in the Philippines. We have come into agreements on how we will encourage private sectors from both sides to come and do this together,” Almendras said.

Almendras added that New Zealand-based companies can apply for a service contract while technology suppliers and experts can work with local firms.

Specifically, firms from New Zealand can assist in training and retrofitting existing geothermal power plants.

Allen said firms in New Zealand can also bring to the Philippines technologies for small scale geothermal power geothermal power production like 10-15 MW.

The companies can also help in locating and assessing resources, hence decreasing project risks, Allen said.

To date, New Zealand has an installed generation capacity of 750 MW from geothermal projects, which is expected to rise to 1,000 MW next year. It has a long-term geothermal potential of 3,000-4,000 MW, Allen said.

By Neil Jerome C. Morales (The Philippine Star)


Related stories:

New Zealand to help PH in geothermal projects

New Zealand and the Philippines find common ground in geothermal


About janusalmighty

Janus Almighty is an avid sustainability junkie. While shamelessly promoting sustainability of the corporate kind, he only does so to advance the practice of disclosing sustainability performance in the Philippine business sector View all posts by janusalmighty

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