EDC breaks ground on P7-B Albay power plant project

By Rhaydz B. Barcia


Some 600 new jobs will be generated in Bicol region amidst the pandemic as the Energy Development Corporation (EDC) formally started works on a P7-billion power plant in Manito Albay.


The EDC began construction works on the 29 MW Palayan Binary Power Plant (PBPP) project in barangay Nagotgot, Manito Albay in a bid to provide adequate supply of reliable clean renewable energy to augment the high demand of stable power in the country specifically in Bicol.


Richard B. Tantoco, EDC president and chief operating officerm said in an online groundbreaking ceremony, that the PBPP is part of EDC’s dream for the Bicolanos to permanently enjoy clean and stable power coming from the Bacon-Manito (BacMan) facility.


The PBPP project aims to expand EDC’s existing 130 MW BacMan geothermal facility, which will generate 215.8 GW of clean power. It was awarded with a subsidy from Japan as part of a Joint Credit Mechanism (JCM).


This low carbon project is expected to reduce the country’s carbon emissions by around 72,200 tons each year as it will help Japan reach its own CO2 reduction goals.


The project according to the EDC official is their contribution to the much-needed clean and reliable energy that fully supports the Department of Energy’s (DOE) intent of providing adequate, continuous, and economic supply of energy to our country.


“The PBPP is also our contribution to our country’s target of reducing carbon emissions to 75 percent by 2030, considering that the project is expected to help the Philippines avoid 72,200 tons of carbon emissions each year,” Tantoco said.


He said that 29 megawatt additional clean, renewable, stable power for electric cooperatives, distribution utilities, as well as businesses aim to lower their carbon emissions or even aspire to become carbon neutral.


“We strive to make sure that this P7 billion investment will be able to meet our target commissioning month for this Bacman expansion project by the end of 2022, amidst the pandemic. It is the only way for us to fulfill our commitment to DOE and our commitment to provide more supply of clean, renewable, reliable power to our country,” he said.


The P7 billion Palayan Binary Geothermal Power Plant (PBGP) is part of its expansion program of the existing BacMan Geothermal plant in Manito, Albay.


The PBPP is part of this dream that we have for Albay and Sorsogon. You have heard about all the figures and salient details of our project a while ago but what I want to emphasize is how our revitalized mission to forge collaborative pathways for a decarbonized and regenerative future puts PGPP in front and center, he said.


Tantoco said that the EDC worked with DOE, TESDA Bicol, DOH, Governors Al Francis Bichara of Albay and Francis “Chiz” Escudero of Sorsogon and so as the government of Japan, First Balfour, Turboden, Mitsubishi Power Limited, in a quest to provide a stable, reliable, and cost competitive source of clean, baseload power that our country needs and at the same time, decarbonizing it by avoiding 72,200 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year.


“Our Yolanda experience in 2013 and several typhoons after that made us realize the only way for us to be of true help to our partner LGUs and communities amid strong storms was to typhoon-proof our facilities, so that’s what we did to all our geothermal power plants across the country,” the official said.


“We knew that our efforts had paid off for BacMan when we saw that our facilities did not suffer too much damage after super typhoon Rolly struck the Bicol region last year. As a result, we were immediately able to provide not only food and water but also that much needed temporary power to 400,000 households with a population of about two million here in Albay and in Sorsogon,” he added.


It was only for a few days until you were able to connect back to the grid but we hope someday, Bicolanos will be able to permanently enjoy the clean, stable power that comes from our BacMan facility in their own hometown.


“We can’t control or stop calamities or even the pandemic from happening but rest assured that EDC will always be the light that helps you rise up and build back a better Bicol each time. This is how we will continue to work in EDC,” he said.


Albay governor Al Francis Bichara represented by Engr. Macario Pabia, provincial planning and development officer (PPDO), lauded the EDC project as it will not only provide employment but address the stable power requirement of the region following the increasing power demand.


“We are hoping that the power plant will be operational earlier than the targeted date of December 2022 to add to the much-needed power supply. Hopefully next year, we’ll have enough, since there is an increase of demand for power due to the increase in economic activities brought about by the elimination of the Covid threat,” he said.


The project will make use of the waste heat from the 110MW Bacman-1 geothermal power plant to generate additional energy without the need for additional drilling.


Heat from brine, usually produced from the wet steam operations, will be used to generate electricity. It is expected to boost the local economy as it generates 600 jobs for the community.


As it helps the country avoid carbon emissions in lieu of power from coal, the project is expected to strengthen the company’s initiatives in empowering its host communities through skills development and by providing additional livelihood opportunities.


Upon project completion in 2022, the plant will boost the overall power generation capacity of the existing Bacman Geothermal Power Plant (BGPP), which currently generates 120 MW of electricity.


The 120 MW installed capacity of BGPP accounts for over 62 percent of the country’s total geothermal capacity, putting the Philippines on the map as the world’s third largest geothermal power producer.


EDC generates over 40 percent of the Philippines’ renewable energy output and serves about 10 percent of the country’s overall electricity demand with its installed capacity of over 1,500MW.


The BGPP is one of the geothermal power stations operated by Energy Development Corporation in the provinces of Albay and Sorsogon.


Bicol region is a producer and home of clean and renewable power sources. It hosts the Tiwi Geothermal Power Plant and BGPP, which supply electricity to the Luzon Grid.