Renewable energy firm to bring Iceland’s Blue Lagoon experience to Oriental Mindoro

Filipinos need not travel to far Iceland to have the world-famous "Blue Lagoon" spa experience as a renewable company energy finalizes plans to put up a hot spring and wellness center near a geothermal power plant in scenic Lake Naujan in Oriental Mindoro.

Dutchman Dr. Antonie de Wilde, chief technical officer of local green energy firm Emerging Power Resource Holdings Inc. (EPRHI), said they are out to replicate the Blue Lagoon Spa in Reykjavik, Iceland environment in Lake Naujan by blending the energy-generating potentials of their 20 MW geothermal power plant and the health rejuvenating benefits of a hot spring.

"Filipinos will experience up close the benefits of geothermal power and the soothing balm of a refreshing health bath in our hot spring near our geothermal power plant. We are going to bring the Blue Lagoon experience here," said Antonie de Wilde.

De Wilde was referring to the Blue Lagoon which he visited numerous times. One of Iceland's famous attractions, the Blue Lagoon allows people to have a health bath and spa from its geothermal seawater that is rich in minerals, silica and algae. In addition to the lagoon, one can relax in a sauna, steam bath carved out of a lava cave and a massaging waterfall.

The Blue Lagoon, which was featured in CNN as one of the top 10 wellness retreats from around the world in 2011, was created as an over-spill pool for the nearby Svartsengi geothermal power station. When heat and electricity has been generated from the water, it is pushed through to the lagoon.

As the CNN website puts it, one can "slather on the rich mix of minerals, silica and algae provided in buckets along the sides of the huge outdoor pool, or get a professional massage and visit their clinic for psoriasis sufferers."

Much like the Blue Lagoon in Iceland, de Wilde said their water spring in Barangay Montelago, Nauhan, Oriental Mindoro will also pump out excess mineral-rich water after producing electricity.

The geothermal power project and hot spring resort is a joint project of the EPRHI, the the Constellation Energy Corp (CEC) and Dutch company IF Technology. The geothermal power plant has a potential of generating up to P70MW.

"We are going to include medical tourism to the many attractions of Oriental Mindoro. The hot spring resort will boost island's tourism and economy," added CEC Chairman Jose P. Leviste, Jr.

Leviste said they are effectively going to bring life back to the Montelago hot spring. Although a law was passed in 1964 declaring the Montelago hot spring as a tourist resort, nothing much happened to the area for lack of investors willing to pump money into the hot spring in the remote barangay, he said.

CEC, together with its technical and financial partners, is one of many companies and groups identifying and developing geothermal steam fields. Other than the Montelago project, CEC is also developing other energy projects in Biliran province and Negros Island.

CEC-EPRHI-IF Technology consortium is developing the Montelago project under a Geothermal Renewable Energy Service Contract granted by the Department of Energy (DOE).

Dr. de Wilde said the geothermal project would provide baseload capacity with as much as 90 percent availability. Once the Montelago plant is operational, he added, it would be a big factor in providing a reliable and secure source of power and in stabilizing retail electricity rates in the island-province.

The Philippines is the second-highest producer of geothermal power, next only to the United States. Situated in the so-called ring of fire, the country has vast geothermal potentials.

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