This Monday the Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed inaugurated a 30 turbines wind farm which with an installed capacity of 75 MW of power. Now its Philippines which is looking to tap into another non-conventional, clean energy source.
The Philippine government aims to approve contracts to explore and develop the country’s massive geothermal energy resources, which could attract more than $2.5 billion in private investment, an official said.
The nation which is already the second largest producer of geothermal energy is looking to approve 19 contracts in a span of next five months to allow foreign and domestic firms to access such projects.
Alejandro Oanes, division chief for geothermal energy at the Philippine Energy Department, informed that the Philippine power producer Energy Development Corp and Envent (a unit of Geysir Green Energy which is one of Iceland’s biggest geothermal energy companies) were among groups vying for contracts to tap the country’s geothermal resources.
“Incentives for renewable projects are giving (the country’s) geothermal development a much needed boost,” said Oanes in a telephone interview from Manila.
The government has already approved 87 contracts to develop alternative energy sources in the nation. Dedicated tax holidays and tariff exemptions for renewable energy projects are boosting investment in clean energy. Geothermal energy already accounts for 17 percent of total energy production in Philippines (as in 2008) with installed capacity close to 2,000 megawatts.
The 19 new deals are expected to harness an extra 620 megawatts of power.
Geothermal sites covered in the deals include Mount Isarog, in Camarines Sur province, where about 70 MW of geothermal power could be developed. The government is also looking at resources in Mount Labo, Camarines Norte with a potential capacity of 65 MW.
Other provinces identified with geothermal resources include Benguet, Cagayan, Palawan, Oriental Mindoro, Surigao del Norte and Laguna.
Philippines is ideally located along the Pacific Ring of Fire to produce geothermal energy. Ring of Fire refers to the area encircling the Pacific Ocean and some parts of the Indian Ocean where some of the most active earthquakes and volcanoes are concentrated along major tectonic plate boundaries. Most of the geothermal sources are located along the Ring of Fire.
Geothermal energy is much cleaner compared to any conventional energy source.
Geothermal power plants do not burn fuel to generate electricity, so their emission levels are very low. They release less than 1% of the carbon dioxide emissions of a fossil fuel plant. Geothermal plants use scrubber systems to clean the air of hydrogen sulfide that is naturally found in the steam and hot water.
Geothermal plants emit 97% less acid rain-causing sulfur compounds than are emitted by fossil fuel plants. After the steam and water from a geothermal reservoir have been used, they are injected back into the Earth.