Philippine Daily Inquirer

The proposed 50-megawatt (MW) Biliran Geothermal Inc. (BGI) is set for development in stages and the first phase is scheduled for completion in the fourth quarter of 2016.

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The project is seen to be the next major geothermal power project in the Philippines.

“Biliran targets 50 MW but on staggered/phased development of 10 MW (per phase). The first unit is expected to be completed in October 2016,” DOE director for Renewable Energy Management Bureau Mario Marasigan said in a text message.

BGI proposes to build a geothermal power plant in the island-province of Biliran in Eastern Visayas. The project, which may have up to 50 MW of capacity, will boost the renewable energy component of the Philippines’ energy mix as coal and other sources grow.

The Department of Energy (DOE) hopes the geothermal project to be finished soon to complement the 20-MW Maibarara geothermal project in Batangas, which is set for a 10-MW expansion, and other renewable energy projects in the country.

“So far we are looking at Biliran, although it needs full confirmation. So development has not yet started,” Marasigan said.

The geothermal project is targeted to be in full operation by 2016, augmenting power supply in the Visayas.

BGI said it was undertaking confirmatory drilling and might start development within this year if all would go according to plan, Marasigan said.

“Initially, their successful identification of resource indicated 20 MW but now the declaration of commerciality is 40 MW to 50MW. We are evaluating their declaration,” Marasigan said.

The DOE is evaluating whether BGI can produce the energy it wants based on the geothermal resource it plans to harness.

Before approving development work, the department wants to know where BGI plans to sell its power output.

BGI declared commerciality, indicating its intention to develop the project up to commercial operation, late last year.

DOE records showed that the Biliran geothermal concession was awarded to BGI in July 2008. The project site covers an area of 260 square kilometers in Barangays Cabibihan and Villa Vicenta in the municipality of Caibiran.

BGI is a joint venture between Filtech Energy Drilling Corp. (Fedco) and Iceland-based Orka Energy Holding ehf.

Orka Energy specializes in geothermal resources development for electricity generation and district heating. It has projects in the Philippines, Singapore, and China.

Fedco, which was incorporated in 2005, explores, drills, develops, exploits and manages geothermal resources for energy investors.

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