FRONTPAGE
EDC no intent to go Mt. Talinis


The Energy Development Corporation denied claims made by environmental groups that they are expanding their operation in Mt. Talinis in Negros Oriental in the light of their application to expand their capacity of 60 MW.

Jay Joel Soriano, head of the Negros Island Geothermal Unit said their expansion is within the 5,160 hectares development block, a concessionaire area granted to EDC in operating the Palinpinon Geothermal Plant.

“EDC’s operation is not going to harm any trees in Mt. Talinis and neither is there a plan to operate in Mt. Talinis,” Soriano said contrary to what environmental groups who have lobbied against the granting of the Environmental Compliance Certificate said.

Soriano further said that EDC has always prioritized environment protection, conservation and restoration, as the same is vital to their operation.

EDC, which is purely into renewable energy, operates 23 percent of installed RE’s in the country including solar, wind and hydro with geothermal comprising the biggest, producing 1100 MW. It manages 266,326 hectares of public lands, which is about 1 percent of the country’s total land area.

Meanwhile, the EDC head of public affairs Ramon Ricky Carandang said “The best way for Negros Island to meet its growing power needs and still continue being a green island is to get power from geothermal that is abundant in the region,.”

“Geothermal power is considered the Holy Grail of RE technologies. It is clean, renewable, and it is the only form of RE that can provide stable power 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year-round,” Carandang added.

Geothermal relies heavily on healthy forests to recharge the geothermal reservoir. “We plant and grow native trees beyond compliance because we cannot exist without forests,” Carandang said, adding that, “Without them, our steamfields will dry up and we will not be able to supply geothermal energy to our power plants.

Negros Island Geothermal head, Jay Soriano however clarified that from 2009 to 2015, “there is no decline in biodiversity in areas that we occupy,” and has in fact been instrumental in increasing forest cover in provinces where they operate.

“We have been leading the country in de-carbonization,” citing that from 9,036 hectares open canopy in 1987, “we have increased the canopy and the number of trees to 17,852 hectares as of today,” he said.

“We are growing our own carbon sink” Soriano said, stressing that contrary to claims of environmental activists that they are harming the environment, “we have been at the forefront of protecting our forests and we have heavily invested in programs that will ensure conservation and reforestation of the same.”

“We cannot exist without forests because we rely heavily on watershed to recharge our reservoir,” he said, adding that satellite images as part of studies by experts showed “there is consistent increase in forest cover from 2007- 2015 in the development block including in all other local government units that have been covered by our Binhi program.

Since the 1980’s when EDC started operating in Negros Island, “we have planted millions of trees in the island including 96 premium tree species that have once again started to flourish in this area in over 5,000 hectares.”

Meanwhile, environmental group Green Convergence commended EDC for its sustainable environmental practices after their site visit at the geothermal facility post the conclusion of the State of the Nature Assessment conference in Silliman University.

“EDC is a model energy company,” GC President, Dr. Angelina Galang said.

Along with 80 national and local environmentalists and stakeholders, the guests validated that the proposed expansion was for its geothermal capacity and not an expansion of land area, all of which are outside Mt. Talinis.


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