PH, New Zealand to continue cooperation on geothermal energy
by Philippine Resources - November 08, 2021
Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi (left) and New Zealand Ambassador Peter Kell (right) sign the Second Amendment to the Arrangement on Geothermal Energy Cooperation between the Philippines and New Zealand on Friday (Nov. 5, 2021) at the DOE headquarters in Taguig City. (Photo from DOE Facebook page)
The Philippines and New Zealand will continue to explore cooperation on geothermal energy.
This as Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Alfonso Cusi and New Zealand Ambassador to the Philippines Peter Kell signed the Second Amendment to the Arrangement on Geothermal Energy Cooperation between the two countries on Friday.
Cusi said this renewed interest for cooperation is aligned with the country’s push for indigenous energy as a power source.
"We welcome the formalization of the Second Amendment to the Arrangement on Geothermal Energy Cooperation which comes at such an opportune time, considering that one of our primary goals is to revitalize the state of geothermal energy development and utilization in the Philippines," he added.
Under the agreement, there will be an exchange of best practices and technical expertise in the sector of geothermal energy.
New Zealand previously provided the country with developing geothermal fields in Tongonan, Leyte, and Southern Negros Geothermal in Negros Oriental, which are still operating.
The DOE has also liberalized the geothermal sector as the government opened it to 100-percent foreign ownership to promote new energy sources. By Kris Crismundo
Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency
Marcelle P. Villegas - December 21, 2020
PH now allows foreign ownership of geothermal projects
By Marcelle P. Villegas Department of Energy (DoE) announced that the Philippines now allows foreign companies to fully own large-scale geothermal projects in the Philippines. This decision was made to further promote renewable energy and to shift away from coal as an energy source.  DoE signed the circular on the guidelines for the third Open and Competitive Selection Process (OCSP3) in the granting of renewable energy service contracts. DoE Secretary, Alfonso Cusi signed it on 20 October 2020. He stated, “From an investment perspective, OCSP3 allows for 100% foreign ownership in large-scale geothermal exploration, development and utilization projects.” Geothermal projects are considered large-scale if it has an initial investment cost of about $50 million and approved through a financial and technical assistance agreement. From CNN PH report, “The project is entered into between the Philippine government and the foreign contractors.”  This requires the signature of the President. The Philippine Constitution requires 60% of a public utility to be Filipino-owned. However, DoE said that 100% foreign ownership is now allowed in the renewable energy sector. In 2019, DoE also reportedly allowed foreign companies to fully operate and own biomass power plants. DoE also released a moratorium on endorsement for greenfield coal power plants for sites that have not been used for commercial development or exploration. DoE’s objective it “to further brighten the prospects of our Renewable Energy landscape”. Secretary Cusi also aims for faster implementation of the Philippines’ national renewable energy program, hopefully generating 20,000 megawatts of renewable energy by 2040. Is geothermal energy the best energy source option we have to prevent an energy crisis from happening in the future? How about solar energy? According to a recent article published by Popular Mechanics Magazine, "It's Official: Solar Is the Cheapest Electricity in History" by writer and researcher Caroline Delbert, “Solar is now the cheapest form of electricity for utility companies to build.” This is based on the report of the International Energy Agency (IEA). Although the report mentioned that the reduction in cost of solar energy is based on the risk-reducing financial policies around the world, “it applies to locations with both the most favorable policies and the easiest to access to financing.” “IEA’s recommendations include similar projections and calculations for all renewables as well as nuclear.” Moreover, IEA forecasts that solar energy is well positioned to blow up in the next 10 years, “because right now it is in the sweet spot to lower cost and increasing availability… And while the news is very good for solar [power], it is still pretty good for all the other renewables as well as nuclear, the IEA says.” Why is solar power lower in cost of capital? According to Delbert, it depends on many factors. For renewable energy, she wrote, “There are a few low-hanging factors… As people and companies see more successful projects like Elon Musk’s South Australia solar battery farm, their investment confidence grows.” How did this year’s COVID-19 pandemic affect the global development of renewable energy? Last May 2020, IEA gave a market update and analysis on the impact of COVID-19 on renewable energy deployment in 2020 and 2021. They reported that “COVID-19 crisis is hurting but not halting global renewable energy growth.” “Half a year later, the pandemic continues to affect the global economy and daily life. However, renewable markets, especially electricity-generating technologies, have already shown their resilience to the crisis.” As a review of IEA’s analysis for 2020, they reported that global geothermal capacity additions are projected to amount to 0.3 GW in 2020, which is one-third of 2019’s level, which was the highest ever recorded.  “This year, Indonesia is again expected to lead new development, with 145 MV of capacity added (90 MV from the Rantau Dedap plant and 45 MW at the Sorik Marapi plant), followed by Turkey (+70 MV). These two countries are expected to account for more than two-thirds of new capacity additions in 2020, while the Philippines, the United States and Bolivia are responsible for most of the rest.” IEA also noted that this year, due to the COVID-19 crisis, a number of projects have been delayed by disruptions to the global supply chain for machinery and materials and by deferrals of strategic decisions, such as decisions in financing. In effect, several small and medium-sized projects originally scheduled to come online in 2020 are expected to be commissioned in 2021 instead.  In Turkey, the 10-year FiT scheme for new plants (originally scheduled to end at the end of 2020) has been extended until mid-2021 in order to cover projects affected by delays caused by the pandemic. (FiT or FIT refers to feed-in tariff. It is a policy mechanism designed to encourage and speed up investment in renewable energy technologies by offering long-term contracts to the producers of renewable energy.) “Global cumulative geothermal capacity is forecast to increase 7% to 16.5 GW by 2022, with Indonesia, Kenya, Turkey and the Philippines responsible for two-thirds of this growth.” IEA also reported that in Indonesia, the state-owned company PT Geo Dipa Energi (GDE) has received a USD 300-million loan from the Asian Development Bank for the 110-MW expansion of the Dieng and Patuha plants, expected to be carried out during 2020 – 2023. “Beyond 2022, Indonesia, Kenya and Turkey continue to lead capacity additions, which are projected to exceed 0.8 GW per year globally on average.” “The Indonesian government recently prepared a roadmap for geothermal energy, with the goal of having 8 GW of installed capacity by 2030 (up from 2.1 GW in 2019). However, wider exploitation of the country’s considerable geothermal potential will require the resolution of a number of challenges, including low energy prices, limited local electricity demand, a lack of capital investments, and environmental and social issues.”  In relation to this, the Indonesian government plans to conduct exploration and drilling in 20 geothermal areas during 2020 until 2024. Their view is to reduce development risks for future auction plans. They are also focusing on coming up with policies with the objective of providing better economic incentives to geothermal projects. If Indonesia overcomes the obstacles, they could match up with the accumulated installed capacity of the United States by 2025. In conclusion, IEA said that geothermal power is also receiving greater interest from oil companies. Most oil companies are open to opportunities to diversify their activities while capitalizing on their drilling expertise.  The International Energy Agency is an autonomous intergovernmental organization that is based in Paris, France. It was established in the framework of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 1974 in the wake of the 1973 oil crisis. IEA is a reliable source of information and statistics about the international oil market and other energy sectors. IEA also acts as a policy adviser to its member countries and also with non-member countries like China, India and Russia. IEA’s mandate is focused on effective energy policies related with energy security, economic development and environmental protection. The Agency also promotes alternate energy sources such as renewable energy. Reference:  CNN Philippines Staff (27 October 2020). CNN Philippines. “PH now allows 100% foreign ownership in large-scale geothermal projects”. Retrieved from - https://www.cnnphilippines.com/news/2020/10/27/renewable-energy-philippines-foreign-ownership.html?fbclid#.X5jn8RFncGQ.linkedin  Delbert, Caroline (22 October 2020). Popular Mechanics. "It's Official: Solar Is the Cheapest Electricity in History". Retrieved from - https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/a34372005/solar-cheapest-energy-ever/?fbclid=IwAR2SZ1K5JZH6XHDqztP8-DfnY7X2lURKK4OCDxtSf0UFzKA59sC2XgBaLUg  International Energy Agency website. Retrieved from - https://www.iea.org/reports/renewables-2020 and Geothermal abstract Photo source: Philippine Geothermal Production Company, Inc. - https://www.pgpc.com.ph/
Philippine Resources - December 01, 2021
A grand slam in responsible mining
Photo credit: Hinatuan Mining A grand slam win for a mining company simply means being the best in class in its responsible conduct of business; in its forest management and environment enhancement and protection; its social responsibility programs and in providing safety in the workplace and the communities. Hinatuan Mining Corp. (HMC), a subsidiary of Nickel Asia Corp. (NAC) sweeps major honors this year from the country’s most prestigious award-giving body in the mining industry – the Presidential Mineral Industry Environmental Award (PMIEA). “It’s our first time and it’s a grand slam! We still can’t believe it but that these awards were accorded to us during this most difficult time of the pandemic, makes this moment doubly exulting, everyone was emotional when the news first broke, this is the reason for our existence, says Engr. Francis Arañes, HMC’s Resident Mine Manager. HMC, with operations in Hinatuan Island, Tagana-an, Surigao del Norte, takes home the Presidential award for surface mining operations; the Best Mining Forest in the Metallic category; the winner of the Safest Surface Mining Operations; and the winner of the Safest Mining Operation; plus, the individual awards of Best Surface Safety Inspector and Best Surface Miner accorded to HMC’s employees, Aldrin L. Resullar and Jennifer Q. Inting, respectively. The PMIEA is the highest accolade awarded to a mining company. The evaluation and assessment for this year’s awardees encountered extra challenges with the threats of COVID-19 in the backdrop where movements were limited, the economy threatened, operations delayed, and bringing services to the communities were among the biggest challenge to the company’s community workers. HMC had set its eyes on these awards for years. The company remains steadfast, focusing on specific goals that the award giving body monitors and measures, such as the actual number of hectares to be rehabilitated as mandated by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), even going outside of their areas of responsibility in supporting the Philippine National Greening Program (NGP); building a robust forest within the mine site, highlighting eco-tourism programs; setting up its host and neighboring communities to sustainable economic development programs; among other things. And to ensure that compliance is above and beyond its mandate, HMC underscores the efficiency of reporting, of transparency, giving importance to its Information, Education and Communication (IEC) programs. “The bar in honoring mining companies has been set even higher, what with the added focus on the principles of ESG – Environment, Social and Governance – in the midst of ongoing debates about climate change,” says Engr. Aloysius C. Diaz, NAC SVP and Head of Production. Diaz says the miners, HMC in particular, are now even more cognizant of peer reviews because the world has become more critical in holding the industry accountable for a greener, healthier, and safer future. PMIEA evaluates all facets of a mining company’s responsible and sustainable business practices, keenly focusing on environmental protection and management; and ensuring the health and safety of employees and the total wellbeing of the people in the communities that they serve. The Hinatuan mine site, also known as the “Tagana-an Nickel Project”, is located in Hinatuan Island, Barangay Talavera, municipality of Tagana-an, province of Surigao del Norte. Its area of operations is within the Surigao Mineral Reservation.
Philippine Resources - December 01, 2021
Nuclear, solar eyed as alternatives to PH energy mix
Photo: Bataan nuclear power plant Senator Sherwin Gatchalian is considering nuclear and solar energy as a possible alternative or additional sources of energy in the country. Gatchalian, Senate energy committee chairman, said he favors “in principle” smaller nuclear reactors instead of the bigger ones for flexibility and safety. “Small ones are more flexible and safer. Safer in the sense that it is smaller, deployable, and has the technology that can use nuclear wastes. Of course, it is still in the development stage,” he said in a radio interview on Monday. He said small nuclear reactors can produce energy from 10 to 150 megawatts. Gatchalian, however, does not consider reviving the Bataan nuclear power plant as it will be too risky and too costly to rehabilitate the facility. He said many are also using solar energy with some big companies putting up solar power plants. “I believe it could be part of the energy transition because nuclear is emission-free but the risk is where to put the wastes and if it encounters a problem, the cost is too high. Solar deployment is still a challenge because it is still quite expensive,” he added. Gatchalian said he will file a bill on energy transition following the Department of Energy’s (DOE) move last year banning new coal power plants to accelerate the country’s shift to cleaner energy. “We cannot hasten the energy transition because we will have no source of energy… The energy transition can be 10 years or longer but the important thing is it’s a scientific process to determine how we can transition out of fossil fuel into renewable safely, reliably, and securely,” he said. He added that right now, the country’s energy needs are still good with fossil fuel but it is imperative to jumpstart the transition due to the increasing population and industries. Gatchalian was here on Sunday to turn over his donation of 5,000 sets of personal protective equipment and 50 sacks of slippers to the Region 1 Medical Center. By Hilda Austria Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency
Philippine Resources - December 01, 2021
Gas drilling in Recto Bank should push through: Pimentel
Photo credit: Inkl The chair of the House Strategic Intelligence Committee on Tuesday said oil drilling activities in Recto Bank must proceed as scheduled amid rising tensions with China. Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel said the Sampaguita gas field could yield up to USD18.2 billion, or around PHP910 billion, in future royalties for the government, based on a 60 percent net share. “We have no choice but to carry on with the drilling activities because the Sampaguita gas discovery in Recto Bank has the potential to energize the entire national grid – not just Luzon – for the next 20 to 30 years,” Pimentel said. Pimentel said Sampaguita is “an untapped value-changing asset” that would be valuable to the country’s future energy security with up to 4.6 trillion cubic feet of gas, while Malampaya, which has been producing gas for the last 20 years, has only 1.6 trillion cubic feet of residual gas at best. “There is even one study suggesting that the entire Recto Bank has up to 20 trillion cubic feet of potential gas in place,” Pimentel said. The Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruled in July 2016 that Recto Bank is within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, as defined under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of Sea. By virtue of the ruling, Pimentel said the Philippines enjoys absolute rights to exploit all resources in the seamount. Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency