A SUBSIDIARY of Lopez-led Energy Development Corp. (EDC) has started the construction of its 29-megawatt (MW) binary power plant which is expected to go online by end-2022 in Bicol, its parent firm said on Wednesday.

In a statement, EDC said it held the groundbreaking ceremony of the Palayan Binary Power Plant (PBPP) in Brgy. Nagotgot in Manito, Albay. The facility will generate 215.8 gigawatt hours of clean energy, and expand the firm’s existing 130-MW Bacon-Manito (BacMan) geothermal facility.

PBPP, which will produce energy from the waste heat of a unit of the BacMan plant, is expected to generate 600 jobs for the community, boosting the local economy. The low-carbon project is estimated to reduce 72,200 tons of carbon emissions per year.

“This project is our additional contribution to that much needed baseload clean, reliable RE (renewable energy) that fully supports the (Department of Energy’s) intent of providing adequate, continuous, and economic supply of energy,” EDC President and Chief Operating Officer Richard B. Tantoco said in a speech delivered during the groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday.

He also thanked members of the Energy department for recognizing PBPP as an energy project of national significance or a major project entitled to expedited permits in line with the government’s Philippine Energy Plan.

Mr. Tantoco said that the binary project is the firm’s contribution in helping the Philippines reach its target of cutting back on carbon emissions by 75% by 2030, based on the country’s nationally determined contribution.

He added that EDC would invest P7 billion in PBPP.

The company said that the safety of its employees and contractors remained its top priority.

“Safety is part of EDC’s culture more so now that we are working to provide clean, stable, renewable energy to our customers, especially in critical industries, amid the pandemic. As such, all employees and contractors on-site are reminded that they are all safety leaders,” Mr. Tantoco said in the statement.

EDC’s parent firm First Gen Corp. earlier said that it was targeting to invest more in its capital expenditure (capex) projects this year as it plans to allocate $530 million in funding.

Of the capex, some $280 million will cover the drilling activities, investments and binary geothermal projects of its geothermal subsidiary EDC. The figure also covers EDC’s binary growth projects, including PBPP.

Shares in First Gen at the local bourse were unchanged at P30.80 apiece on Wednesday. — Angelica Y. Yang