In a statement regarding the ongoing discussions about the EDC expansion due to the growing energy demand the EDC head for the integrated business unit in Negros said in a statement that the expansion does not fall physically into the area of Mt. Talinis. Energy Development Corp. (EDC) said the expansion of its geothermal plant in Valencia, Negros Oriental will not involve an encroachment into Mount Talinis, which it described as a key biodiversity area in province.
EDC Expansion confined to existing block
Jay Joel L. Soriano, head of EDC’s Negros integrated geothermal business unit, said in a statement during the weekend that the 60-megawatt (MW) expansion of the Southern Negros Geothermal Power Plant (SNGP) would be confined to its existing geothermal production block in Valencia.
“I believe the issue about SNGP’s plan to expand by another 5,163 hectares is a result of a misunderstanding, because the supposed additional expansion area corresponds to our existing development block,” he said. “But as we have been saying, we are not in Mount Talinis and we are not going to Mount Talinis.”
EDC is expanding the plant’s capacity to 282.5 MW from 222.5 MW to to meet the region’s expanding electricity requirements. The plant’s development block covers 5,163 hectares in the Palinpinon-Okoy watershed in Valencia, which the company described as physically separate from Mount Talinis. The country’s biggest geothermal energy producer said it had organized a visit to the area for non-government organizations (NGOs) on Aug. 10, “to dispel erroneous environmental allegations.”
NGOs sent representatives to inspect area
The company said NGOs that sent officials or representatives to the site visit included Green Convergence, The Climate Reality Project-Philippines, Haribon Foundation, Archdiocesan Ministry on Environment, SEED4COM, Let’s Do It Philippines, EcoAgri, Climate Change Congress of the Philippines, and Development Options and Social Entrepreneurship, Inc.
EDC said it was awaiting the release of the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for its plant expansion.
“Contrary to criticism from some quarters about EDC’s lack of transparency and stakeholder support, the company has gone through public consultations and hearings for its ECC application and has received the strong endorsement for an ECC from the host communities and local government of Valencia,” the company said.
Mr. Soriano said “pending the release of the ECC, EDC has not begun any activity for its proposed EDC expansion project.”