First Gen explores geothermal prospects in Taiwan

Danessa Rivera (The Philippine Star) - May 23, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Lopez-led First Gen Corp. is looking at geothermal prospects and local partners in Taiwan as its eyes to further expand its overseas ventures through subsidiary Energy Development Corp. (EDC).

The group continues to expand its international presence by focusing on geothermal developments, First Gen president and chief operating officer Francis Giles Puno said in an interview.

“We’ve always been in the international arena. Except that in the international arena, we have not focused on areas where we don’t feel we have competitive advantage,” he said.

“And the competitive advantage of First Gen is in geothermal, so that’s where we choose to play in the international area,” Puno said.

As part of its overseas expansion, First Gen is exploring the geothermal industry of Taiwan.

The group is in talks with local concession holders in Taiwan for possible partnership and to offer its technical expertise in geothermal development.

EDC is the country’s largest geothermal developer and is among the world’s top integrated geothermal companies.

Meanwhile, the Lopez Group remains interested in developing geothermal sites in Indonesia.

“We have a concession in Indonesia. We’re also trying to look for a partner there,” Puno said.

Last year, EDC said was looking at a potential of 200 megawatts project in Indonesia. However, the Indonesian law requires it to tap a local partner and sell at least five percent to develop the project.

The firm also plans to participate in the auction of geothermal assets in Chile and Peru.

Apart from owning geothermal projects, EDC is also conducting oil drilling operations overseas.

The company has drilling projects in Japan and Kenya.

At home, EDC is pushing for incentives for the development of geothermal prospects to augment the country’s baseload power supply.

EDC president and chief operating officer Richard Tantoco has touted geothermal as “the holy grail of renewable energy” being the cleanest, most reliable and readily available.

“The Philippines has a vast geothermal potential. To spur the development of these untapped geothermal potential, we urge the government to incentivize the development of geothermal, which can provide not just clean and reliable power, but jobs and livelihoods to local communities as well,” he said.

At present, the country is powered by coal by over 50 percent. However, coal power generation has been identified as the greatest contributor to climate change, with almost 61 percent of global carbon emissions coming from energy and industrial processes.

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