By Danessa Rivera (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 22, 2016 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines – Lopez-owned Energy Development Corp. (EDC) and the State of Hawaii are exploring a possible collaboration to pursue geothermal power projects in the US state as part of the company’s clean energy transformation in the next three decades.
In a statement, EDC said Luis P. Salaveria, director of Hawaii’s Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), recently met with geothermal experts and top officials of EDC to learn how the state can incorporate geothermal power and reduce its dependency on fossil fuels.
“Hawaii is especially interested in gaining a deeper understanding about geothermal energy and how this renewable energy (RE) source can help in achieving HCEI’s (Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative) goal,” Salaveria said.
“As one of the biggest geothermal companies in the world, EDC could be a possible partner of Hawaii in a future cooperation agreement,” he added.
EDC owns and operates 12 geothermal power projects with an installed geothermal capacity of 1,169 megawatts (MW).
Currently, it is pursuing opportunities to develop geothermal fields in Latin America and Indonesia.
While Hawaii has other RE options like wind and solar, these RE sources are intermittent and cannot be used to run base-load power plants, Salaveria said.
Given its vast potential, Hawaii considers geothermal a natural RE option to run more base-load power plants in the future, he said.
“Hawaii’s current dependence on oil threatens our natural resources, and places economic security at risk. We are looking to diversify our energy portfolio to meet the goal of 100 percent renewables by 2045,” Salaveria said.
At present, imported oil provides 90 percent of Hawaii’s energy needs.
The Hawaii State Energy Office embarked on a strategic plan to position Hawaii as a proving ground for clean energy technologies and achieve 100 percent RE plan last year. The office is under DBEDT, a state department in the executive branch under the Office of the Governor.
Currently, Hawaii has a 38-MW geothermal production capacity. Studies indicate that Hawaii may hold more than 1,000 MW of geothermal reserves on Maui and Hawaii islands, two of its eight main islands.
EDC is a subsidiary of First Gen Corp., the Philippines’ leading clean and renewable energy company with an installed capacity of 2,959 MW at the end of 2015. Aside from geothermal, First Gen’s portfolio of power plants also runs on natural gas, hydro, wind and solar.