DOE Awarding 4 Geothermal Contracts

At least four geothermal service contracts will be signed and awarded to project developers by the Department of Energy (DOE) before year 2012 winds up.

A geothermal contract for the Negron Cuadrado prospect in Zambales and Pampanga will be awarded to AP Renewables, Inc. of the Aboitiz group, DOE director Mario Marasigan has confirmed.

Three other contracts will be cornered by Basic Energy Corporation for the Iriga geothermal power project in Albay and Camarines Sur; Mariveles prospect in Bataan; and East Mankayan prospect along Ifugao, Benguet and Mountain Province.

These contracts have been "waiting signing and awarding for 2012," a document culled from the energy department has stipulated.

The department also inked previously about five geothermal service contracts for pre-development along prospect areas.

These targeted developments in Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental, Zamboanga del Sur, Negros Occidental and North Cotabato are seen yielding potential capacity of 130 megawatts.

Three new geothermal operating contracts (GOCs) were also awarded last May for the operation of the Palinpinon, Tongonan and Bacon-Manito plants which are now under the charge of the Energy Development Corporation (EDC) of the Lopez group.

The geothermal sector is among the renewable energy resources attracting capital flows. But since it is already considered "a proven and mature technology" it is no longer subject to feed-in-tariff (FIT) availments.

To align government policies on the development of indigenous and renewable energy sources, including geothermal, the DOE jointly with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) crafted special orders "to address environmental and socio-cultural issues arising from the implementation of energy projects."

A technical working group was similarly formed "to harmonize policies and guidelines on the exploration, development, utilization and conservation of natural resources for energy projects especially in protected areas." (MMV)