QUICK READ: EDC believes that businesses need to look beyond just profitability, and regenerative thinking can ensure that all will benefit from their decisions.
In a country that used to rely solely on imported fuels, a flicker of hope emerged 45 years ago when renewable energy (RE) company, Energy Development Corporation (EDC) was born.
Creating infinite possibilities for the Philippines by providing 100% clean renewable energy has been EDC’s guiding light even back then.
Fast forward to today, EDC still continues to promote low carbon energy security as the largest renewable energy (RE) producer in the country, its 9,300 gigawatt hours (GWh) of generated power accounting for over 42% of the Philippines total generated power from RE as of December 2019.
The bulk of this generated power comes from the company’s almost 1,200-megawatt (MW) geothermal assets that account for 60% of the Philippines’ overall geothermal capacity, as of this writing, and is said to be the world’s largest vertically integrated geothermal producer considering its end-to-end expertise in managing geothermal facilities—from exploration to steam generation to power plant operations.
Geothermal is a clean, reliable, and stable source of power or simply Geo 24/7 for EDC. It is the company’s main arsenal in conquering the biggest disruption ever known to mankind, and that is climate change. The company knows that something must be done to start healing our planet now—there is not much time left for us to reverse the damaging effects of what we and our forefathers have done to Mother Earth.
“Our world is in trouble. COVID-19 has got our attention, but climate change is what will hit us most. We have a responsibility to our planet and humanity, and we chose to take a stand. We now choose to use our voice and send a distress call because we’re running out of time,” said EDC president and COO Richard Tantoco in a talk that he delivered at the Focolare Movement and the Global Catholic Climate Movement-Pilipinas’ conference late last year.
A look at Visayas’ geothermal capacity
The Visayas region may very well be in a position to respond to this urgent call to change our worsening climate. Not only is it blessed to be the country’s renewable energy hub with a total installed RE capacity of 1,667MW or 43.8% of the country’s 3,809MW total installed RE capacity as of 2019, but the region also boasts of having the country’s two biggest 24/7 geo facilities—EDC’s Leyte and Negros geothermal sites that have been providing clean, reliable, stable power to the Luzon-Visayas grid for almost 40 years.
The abundance of eco-friendly energy resources in the islands of Negros and Leyte has given them and the rest of the Visayas region the edge toward achieving low carbon energy security.
“Studies have repeatedly pointed out that the Philippines is the third most vulnerable country to climate-related hazards and we need to take bold action to reverse that. One decisive step we can take is to transform our energy sector, and the islands of Negros and Leyte show that it is possible and now even a reality,” said EDC business development market planning and contracts head Marvin Bailon.
EDC’s 708-MW Leyte geothermal facility that straddles between Ormoc City and Kananga, Leyte is home to the region’s largest geothermal facility. It also holds the biggest wet steam field in the world. Meanwhile, over 220MW of the region’s RE come from EDC’s Southern Negros geothermal facility located in Valencia, Negros Oriental.
Negros Island prides itself for being a green island with an abundant source of 24/7 geothermal energy, as well as solar power. It also has the local government’s full support through Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo and the late Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Maranon Jr. who both released an executive order for their respective provinces declaring them as proudly coal-free.
“Since geothermal energy can provide continuous power 24 hours a day, it serves as the best source of baseload power. With the examples set by the provinces of Negros and Leyte, we are optimistic that a greener energy future lies in store for the entire country,” Bailon added.
Keeping the green lights on for customers
EDC has been striving to provide an uninterrupted supply of clean, renewable power to light up the Visayas region as well as the rest of our country amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has been a dark chapter in our lives since last year.
Prospects for better, low carbon operations are now brighter not only for distribution and electric utilities but even for businesses with an average power consumption of 500 kilowatts (KW) that now have the power to choose their source of electricity and get it directly from Retail Electricity Suppliers (RES) like EDC under the Department of Energy’s Retail Competition Open Access (RCOA) program.
Imagine getting almost zero-carbon, reliable, stable, affordable power for your factory, mall, school, or any establishment straight from the source located in your own region or province. This is what EDC provides through its Green Core Geothermal Inc. (GCGI) RES, which generates electricity from its oldest power plants in Tongonan, Leyte and from Valencia, Negros Oriental, as well as its BacMan Geothermal, Inc. facility in the Bicol region.
“Now power customers can take a stand for the environment and lower its carbon footprint just by choosing its own source of clean, stable power,” added Bailon.
This power of choice is now crucial in the whole world’s fight against climate change, including the Visayas region, which continues to be a victim of various environmental hazards and risks.
It is likewise this power of choice that made EDC and the rest of the Lopez Group decide to go beyond sustainability that merely seeks to do less harm because it is no longer enough.
The conglomerate believes that businesses need to use a wider lens than just that of profitability, that all need to benefit from the positive impact of their decisions and actions, and it can only be achieved by shifting to regenerative thinking.
“For us in the Lopez Group, which EDC is proud to be a part of, being regenerative is about aligning our business, our resources, and our capabilities to fulfill a mission, and that is to forge collaborative pathways for a decarbonized and regenerative future,” said Tantoco.
He went on to explain that regenerative thinking is all about elevating everything we touch—the environment and the people around us, like our communities, employees, customers, even contractors and suppliers.
Elevating the Visayan community
The COVID-19 pandemic has put the spotlight on the Filipino traits malasakit and bayanihan, which a lot of our neighbors, organizations, and businesses like EDC have shown despite having the same economic and health challenges.
Apart from immediately providing food and medical supplies to its communities and to the medical frontliners in its areas of operation, EDC lent container vans that they can use as quarantine facilities or sleeping quarters.
To further help them strengthen their COVID-19 resiliency, EDC provided state of the art RT-PCR machines and other equipment to enable its partner communities to have their own molecular testing laboratories in Ormoc City, Dumaguete City, in Iloilo City, and RNA extractor to Bacolod City. It is likewise working on similar capacity-building donations to Kidapawan City and to Burgos, Ilocos Norte.
“We are grateful to have a significant role in putting up the province’s first testing facility as our way of showing our unwavering commitment to help our partner communities thrive amid this health and economic crisis,” Tantoco said during the inauguration of these testing labs.
Aside from its ongoing COVID-19 assistance, EDC also extended its support to students who are coping with distance learning under its SIKAT college scholarship program.
EDC likewise continues to propagate our Philippine native tree species through its BINHI Green Legacy and through its partners, which has now grown to 187, with 16 arboreta or havens of native species put up, and eight more to be established across the country this year. About 56 of EDC’s BINHI partners are currently growing Mother trees in their respective areas across the Visayas region through their arboretum projects.
As EDC celebrates its 45th year, it continues to strengthen its efforts to help Visayas through geothermal energy and REgenerative thinking, something which the company hopes to impart to all its stakeholders and other companies to encourage them to be part of their journey.
“It is not a beauty contest where only one should win,” said Tantoco. “If we find ourselves alone at the finish line, then we would have failed to fulfill our mission.”
With the bulk of EDC’s Geo 24/7 lighting up the Visayas and its community empowerment and environmental conservation efforts in place, we can very well be the first REgenerative region in our country.
EDC continues to power infinite possibilities through renewable energy in the Visayas region. For more details, visit https://www.energy.com.ph.
The Energy Development Corporation (EDC) is a pioneer in generating 100% clean, renewable, and reliable power as an electricity supplier in the Philippines for over 40 years. With power plants all over Visayas and Mindanao, the company is one of the biggest producers of geothermal energy in Asia and is expanding its reach in the international market, allowing it to offer customers affordable energy rates. EDC also strives to provide the best customer service it can to all its clients by having helpful salespeople and easy to understand contracts. Because of all of this, it is poised to become the premier supplier of electricity for the Philippines’ Green Energy Option Program. EDC takes its mission as a renewable energy provider seriously and goes beyond sustainability by investing in programs that enhance the environment and empower its partner communities, thereby fostering regenerative development. The company has also been working toward being carbon-neutral by improving its energy efficiency, as well as implementing various greening projects to ensure that its mission to provide future generations with a better life remains intact.