By Claire-Ann C. Feliciano, Senior Reporter

Geothermal area up for auction in Q3

Posted on June 20, 2014

THE ENERGY department aims to auction off a geothermal resource area in Davao del Sur next quarter, an official said yesterday.

Ariel D. Fronda, chief of the department’s geothermal energy division, said this is the department’s plan following a resource assessment that was intended to support the development of low enthalpy areas for power generation.

“There are three proposed geothermal areas for investors, but so far we have determined one that can be offered to the private sector,” Mr. Fronda said, during the Power & Electricity World Philippines 2014 in Pasay City.

He identified the area as Balut Island, which is adjacent to Sarangani Island.

“We are finalizing the terms of reference and target to conduct an open and competitive selection process for the area this third quarter of 2014,” the official said.

He added that the area -- which has surface temperature ranging between 66-700C -- has a potential capacity of 20 megawatts (MW).

The department has yet to make recommendations on the two other areas that were part of the resource assessment.

These areas are situated in Banton Island, Romblon; and Maricaban Island, Batangas.

But, Mr. Fronda noted that the Energy department will likely seek private sector participation in further drilling activity on Maricaban Island.

The department’s resource assessment of selected geothermal areas in the Philippines started in 2011. It is set to be completed this year.

The activity was intended to develop areas with lower total heat content compared to traditional geothermal fields.

These areas, according to Mr. Fronda’s presentation, would be applicable to small-scale geothermal projects for local electrical needs.

Under the activity, the department works on socio-economic profiling of specified site and reviews available data.

The Energy department has so far awarded 41 geothermal energy service contracts with total installed capacity of 1,847 MW.

As of end-January, there were two pending applications for projects with combined potential capacity of 60 MW.

The department is targeting to increase the country’s installed capacity to 3,307 MW by 2030 based on the Philippine Energy Plan 2013-2030.

The country is currently the second largest producer of geothermal energy in the world, next to the United States, which has a total capacity of 3,215 MW.

Indonesia, Mexico and Italy are also in the top five with capacities of 1,136 MW, 958 MW and 915 MW, respectively.