By: Jordeene B. Lagare
Philippine Daily Inquirer
02:10 AM August 11, 2023
MANILA -Listed mining company Nickel Asia Corp. (NAC), through its subsidiaries, is targeting to complete two pilot geothermal power projects in Biliran and Mindoro between 2023 and 2025.
Biliran Geothermal Inc. (BGI), an affiliate of NAC’s energy unit Emerging Power Inc. (EPI), is developing a geothermal power plant in Biliran, an island province in Eastern Visayas. It will commence commercial operations by the fourth quarter of 2023 and initially produce 2 megawatts (MW).
BGI is finalizing the development plan to increase the capacity to 10 to 20 MW until it reaches the potential attributable capacity of 50 MW.
Likewise, EPI subsidiary Mindoro Geothermal Power Corp. (MGPC) is building a 20-MW geothermal power plant in Mindoro, located off the southwestern coast of Luzon. It will initially generate 2 MW once commercial operations begin in the fourth quarter of 2025.
The capital expenditure for both geothermal projects is estimated at “about $2 million per megawatt,” EPI chief operating officer Noel Gonzales said.
“With regards to future expansions, we are looking into that and we’ll be looking at fully testing the other existing wells that are in Biliran,” Gonzales said.
“And then beyond that, we’ll look at drilling some more wells in the future for exploration wells and production to expand to the full 50-megawatt capacity that we’re thinking that it can have,” he added.
The entity, however, has no plans to participate in the government’s green energy bidding for now, Gonzales said.
The Green Energy Auction program is one of the programs initiated by the Department of Energy to accelerate energy transition in the Philippines and meet its renewable energy (RE) capacity goals.
Early in January, NAC invested P2.92 billion in EPI for expanding its presence in the country’s RE space. Proceeds will be used to finance EPI’s operations and operating expenses, as well as those of its affiliates BGI and MGPC. It will also fund Greenlight Renewables Holdings Inc., a joint venture with Shell Group’s Shell Overseas Investments B.V.