Group pushes for FIT for geothermal technologies

Group pushes for FIT for geothermal technologies

The National Geothermal Association of the Philippines (NGAP) said geothermal projects should be put under the Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) to enable these projects to compete with other power resources.

The Department of Energy (DOE) said it has consulted with the NGAP and is targeting to increase geothermal capacity by 75 percent by adding 1, 465 megawatts (MW) until 2030.

NGAP said new technologies are needed in order to develop low-enthalpy geothermal resources, which are areas that have low temperature compared to common geothermal areas with temperatures over 250 degrees centigrade. Low enthalpy areas have temperatures ranging from 80 to 180 degrees centigrade.

The FIT is needed to address the obstacles like costs, and resource exploration risks that developers face.

The Renewable Energy Act of 2008 grants incentives, like a fixed FIT rate for 25 years, to qualified solar, wind, hydropower, ocean technology, and biomass renewable energy sources. However, geothermal energy was not included.

“The DOE strategy now is to apply new development technologies to what previously were considered to be second tier resources e.g. technologies that can utilize acidic and young geothermal systems, development of low enthalpy geothermal systems, direct use of small-scale geothermal energy technologies (for example, modular well head turbines), and hybrid technologies,” Fernando S. Peñarroyo of the NGAP said.

“With an appropriately structured feed-in tariff rate that will provide guaranteed payment to investors through a universal charge, these acidic and lower enthalpy resources can be developed to generate electricity. FlTs and other incentive mechanisms are already being used effectively in many nations around the world to support the commercial viability of such resources,” he said.

NGAP is an affiliate of the International Geothermal Association, whose members also include the Aboitiz Power Corp., Chevron Geothermal Services Company, Emerging Power Inc., Energy Development Corp., Maibarara Geothermal Inc. and Philippine Geothermal Production Company Inc.