Legazpi City, Albay. Energy Development Corporation (EDC), the largest producer of geothermal energy in the country and operator of the 130-MW Bacman geothermal plants in Sorsogon, has significantly contributed to the government’s climate change mitigation program by substantially reducing the Philippines carbon intensity. By operating its geothermal fields and maintaining the watersheds around its project sites which serve as carbon sinks, EDC avoids a total of 5.2 million tons of carbon equivalent per year.
EDC Senior Vice President for Environment and External Relations Agnes de Jesus discussed how EDC has been helping in the national effort to address climate change in the first Philippine Media Conference on Climate Change Adaptation in Bicol University in Legazpi City, Albay. The 3-day conference gathered select media practitioners and foreign correspondents to tackle climate vulnerabilities and discuss the impact of extreme natural disasters.
“As a major player in the global and national renewable energy stage, EDC has the inherent capacity to make profound contributions to mitigate the effects of climate change. Because of EDC’s geothermal projects, the country was able to reduce its carbon intensity by about 20%, thus, we rank 49th instead of 21st in the list o countries with high carbon intensity. Being “green” means being able to generate a multitude of benefits for the nation. For one, our geothermal operations have substantially reduced the country’s dependence on imported oil. Last year, EDC’s total generation of 6,201.74GWh displaced 10.34 million barrels of fuel oil which translates to a foreign exchange savings of $821.54 million,” de Jesus explained.
EDC’s carbon footprint of 0.10 tons CO2 equivalent is 4X lower than the country average of 0.48 tons CO2 equivalent. In further independent studies, it was found that EDC’s carbon emissions are between 85-92% less than the average in regions where the Company operates. EDC’s carbon intensity in Visayas and Mindanao is 0.03 tons/MWh and 0.02 tons/MWh, respectively, versus the Philippines carbon grid intensity of 0.27 tons/MWh in Visayas and 0.28 tons/MWh in Mindanao.
De Jesus also presented the climate change adaptation and mitigation initiatives that EDC has been implementing in its project sites. “The new business environment in the midst of climate change demands new approaches. EDC opted for ecosystem based management. In our analysis, we have to start with the value chain to see where we can best intervene to adapt or mitigate climate change impacts. We need to reduce carbon footprint in our operation, update our watershed database, enhance our forest habitat, and improve the capacity of communities to address disasters,” she added.
Foremost of these initiatives is BINHI, a four-pronged reforestation program that has created new value for indigenous tree species. BINHI which was launched in December 2008 is the first reforestation program to address the problem of vanishing premium native tree species by ensuring that the diversity of our Philippine forests and the gene pool of our premium tree species are restored. It aims to reforest 1,000 hectares every year for 10 years.
EDC has already planted 1.5 million trees and are propagating and restoring the gene pool of premium and endangered Philippine species under the BINHI program. It has selected 96 rare and premium species to rescue and as of last quarter, the company has rescued 46 species for propagation or 50% of its target.
Aside from BINHI, EDC is initiating an ecosystem-based management of project areas, influencing supply chain and people’s behavior through sustainability management, improving risk awareness and preparedness of communities through the establishment of Barangay Emergency Response Teams (BERT), and measuring and reporting triple bottomline through the internationally accepted Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).
EDC’s 2010 Integrated Annual and Sustainability Report is the first report by a Philippine company to be validated by the Amsterdam-based Global Reporting Initiative. It exceeded the minimum requirement of reporting for a B+ level report following the GRI’s G3 Protocols. In fact, the company reported on exactly 70 KPIs following the GRI’s electric utilities sector supplement, which is another first for any energy company in the Philippines. “We recognize that integrated reporting is an emerging global trend that allows us to give our shareholders and stakeholders a holistic view of our triple bottomline performance and enables us to pass the social and environmental screening of global investors,” de Jesus added.
Energy Development Corporation (EDC) is the world’s largest pure play geothermal company, with a total of 1,130 MW of fully integrated geothermal plants representing 61% of the installed power generation capacity in the Philippines. This installed capacity is spread across seven operational steam fields located on five distinct contract areas in Leyte, Negros Oriental, Negros Occidental, Bicol and North Cotabato. EDC’s efforts to develop geothermal as a clean, renewable and indigenous source of energy have helped propel the Philippines to become the world’s second largest producer of geothermal power.
In keeping with its objective to develop more indigenous power that would not only be benign but also protective of the environment, EDC has equity in two hydropower projects: 60% equity in the 120MW Pantabangan and 12MW Masiway hydropower plants located in Northern Luzon. EDC is also developing an 86MW Wind Power Project in North Luzon.
With 35 years of experience in geothermal exploration, development and operation, EDC’s technical expertise spans the entire length of the geothermal value chain. A multi-awarded company, EDC is an acknowledged champion of environmental management, social responsibility and good corporate governance. EDC’s efforts in water sustainability were selected among the country’s 10 best practices and showcased at the Philippine Pavilion of the 2008 World Expo, serving to highlight the expertise of EDC in the science of both geothermal energy and the environment. In September 2011, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) bestowed on EDC the highly prestigious Client Leadership Award for its excellent sustainability record, topping 129 companies and organizations across 70 countries. For the past three years, EDC’s excellent corporate governance record has also been recognized by the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD).