Wednesday, March 9, 2011

EDC, WWF Lead Initiative to Accelerate Geothermal Development in Asia

Geothermal leader Energy Development Corporation (EDC) and the World Wide Fund for Nature, Philippines (WWF-Philippines) joined forces to accelerate geothermal development in Asia, starting with the Philippines and Indonesia, via the landmark ‘Ring of Fire’ project.

The Ring of Fire initiative aims to replicate the Philippines’ global success in sustainable geothermal production for Indonesia’s largely untapped geothermal energy resources. The Philippines gets 17 percent of its electricity supply from geothermal power plants and is the second largest geothermal energy producer in the world, next to the US while Indonesia holds approximately 40 percent of the world’s conventional geothermal reserves.

 (WWF Climate Change Director Gia Ibay, WWF Asia-Pacific Energy Policy Coordinator Raf Senga, EDC President and COO Richard Tantoco, WWF Vice-Chair and CEO Jose Ma. Lorenzo Tan, EDC SVP Agnes de Jesus and WWF-International Board Member Vince Perez concretize the partnership.)

The ‘Ring of Fire’ is in line with and in support of WWF’s 100 percent by 2050 Renewable Energy Vision and has the ultimate goal of increasing installed geothermal capacity in the region by 150 percent in 2015 and 300 percent by 2020. On top of increasing geothermal production, the project will also address issues on environmental sustainability, energy security and climate change.

To achieve this, the two partners will establish a Gold Standard Geothermal Showcase project at EDC’s 50-MW Mindanao 3 geothermal project in North Cotabato as a benchmark for all geothermal projects. As the Philippines’ largest producer of geothermal energy and a consistent champion of environmental stewardship, all of EDC’s geothermal sites are models of sustainable geothermal development. It’s Mindanao 3 geothermal project make an ideal Gold Standard geothermal showcase for the Asia Pacific region and is a testament to EDC’s 35 years of industry experience and expertise.

Through the Gold Standard Showcase project that will demonstrate the economic, social and environmental benefits of geothermal energy, EDC and WWF expect to build broad stakeholder support for accelerated geothermal development in the region.

“The activities of WWF within the Ring of Fire programme will focus on helping reform the energy sector in the direction of a more sustainable market, supportive of geothermal sources,” explains WWF-Philippines Vice-Chair and CEO Jose Ma. Lorenzo P. Tan.

“We will work with EDC to create an enabling environment in Indonesia, taking off from our successful partnership to pass the Renewable Energy Act of 2008 in the Philippines. We will also work on the sustainability aspects, energy financing and economic issues, and on capacity building and awareness-raising.”

WWF notes the high economic potential of geothermal to support the creation of a green and innovative energy sector. Geothermal plants provide 2.5 times more jobs than their coal counterparts. Furthermore there is potential – especially for the Philippines – to market knowledge and experience in the field. Large geothermal developments also lead to substantial green investments in both actual production and in surrounding communities, as well as enabling access to carbon markets.

EDC President and COO Richard B. Tantoco says, “EDC recognizes the importance of collaborative efforts to promote greater use of geothermal and other renewable energy resources for energy development. The Ring of Fire Initiative is consistent with our policy to support national efforts to achieve energy security and to contribute to the global effort to address climate change issues. Relative to this, we will actively participate in the Indonesian Geothermal Round Table Discussion to share our expertise and help address relevant policy, awareness, capacity and financing issues affecting the industry.”

For WWF, a 50-year veteran of developing partnerships for the environment, working with EDC was the natural step to achieve its goals for the Ring of Fire Initiative. Having successfully collaborated with EDC for the passage of the Renewable Energy Act of 2008, WWF-Philippines is assured of a strong and committed partner in the Ring of Fire Initiative, which is part of its continued pursuit of achieving the goals stated in the RE Act.

The Ring of Fire Initiative is one of two Iconic Energy Projects currently being implemented by WWF, the other one being the Mediterranean Solar Hotspot being implemented in North Africa, Southern Europe and the Middle East. Other Iconic Projects in the pipeline will promote wind energy, address energy poverty and build Low Carbon Cities.

With a renewed direction towards developing low carbon solutions, as working models, the partnership between WWF and EDC presents a good roadmap that others will not only be able to emulate, but develop further to substantially address the climate problem.

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