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Geothermal output to rise 75% by 2030

By Alena Mae S. Flores | Jul. 03, 2013 at 12:01am
The Energy Department plans to expand the country’s geothermal power capacity by 1,445 megawatts by 2030 with total potential investments of P325.125 billion.

Renewable Energy Management Bureau director Mario Marasigan said in a forum the additional geothermal capacity target represented a 75-percent increase to the current installed capacity of 1,848 MW.

Visayas currently has the highest installed capacity with 915 MW. Luzon has 824 MW while Mindanao has 108 MW of geothermal energy.

Marasigan said the bulk of the new capacity, or 1,160 MW, is expected to be added between 2015 and 2020, with the additional geothermal installation target  entailing investments of around P261 billion.

New geothermal areas will account for 930 MW between 2015 and 2020, while the  expansion of existing fields is expected to contribute 230 MW.

Marasigan expects the installation of 50 MW of additional capacity from 2013 to 2015 with investments of P11.25 billion.

Committed geothermal projects to date include the 20-MW Maibarara in 2013 and the 30-MW Nasulo in 2014.

The department aims to add 155 MW from 2020 to 2025 with projected investments of P34.875 billion and 80 MW from 2025 to 2030 worth P18 billion.

Marasigan said geothermal energy was staging a comeback with new fields being developed and existing areas gearing up for expansion.

Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla stressed the need for a robust and diverse power supply mix.

He said while the country’s electricity supply is dominated by coal-fired power projects because of the relatively low price of the fuel and the comparatively shorter time to put up such plants, renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, hydro and geothermal are still viable supply sources.

Petilla said the department does not favor any particular type of fuel or source  but the government wants to ensure a sustained and balanced power supply.

Petilla said the government was focused on solving the short-term power supply problem in Mindanao. The island is poised to obtain around 1,000 MW of new supply from 2015 to 2016 with the completion of several new power projects in Davao and Sarangani.

Petilla said he “foresees more renewable energy projects to come on-stream next.”

Philippine Geothermal Production Company Inc. president Tony Yee, meanwhile, said his company was encouraged by the enthusiasm from the department and the support it gives to developers and investors.
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