By Jordeene B. Lagare | The Manila Times
“Code red” alert is now raised on Earth.
First Gen-owned renewable energy leader Energy Development Corporation (EDC) has been sounding the doomsday alarm over climate change in all its annual integrated reports and information campaigns to send a wake-up call because we are running out of time. At the rate global temperature is rising from all these carbon emissions, the place we all live in—earth—might become an unlivable planet by the turn of the century. What does it mean? The children of our children would most likely be the first generation to suffer from the worst consequences of climate change.
What EDC said is backed by scientific studies. According to a study by the United Nations, climate change is “widespread, rapid, and intensifying” and unless something is done to significantly reduce emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases, there is no way the world can fight global warming.
Now, the world is warming up faster than expected. The most recent United Nations report, produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), cited estimates saying the world has warmed 1.1 degrees Celsius since 1850-1900, which it attributed to greenhouse gases from human activities. Unless there are “immediate, rapid, and large-scale reductions” to pare down greenhouse gas emissions, scientists said achieving the goals set forth by the 2015 Paris Agreement “will be beyond reach.”
‘Reality check’ UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres dubbed the IPCC report as “a code red for humanity. The alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable.” “Many of the changes observed in the climate are unprecedented in thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of years, and some of the changes already set in motion—such as continued sea-level rise—are irreversible over hundreds to thousands of years,” the report reads.
IPCC Working Group I Co-Chair Valérie Masson-Delmotte said their study is a “reality check” for humanity.
“We now have a much clearer picture of the past, present, and future climate, which is essential for understanding where we are headed, what can be done, and how we can prepare,” said Masson-Delmotte.
Not too late There is still hope for humanity.
While the world cannot reverse some of the trends of climate change yet humanity will play a vital role in determining the future course of climate.
“Stabilizing the climate will require strong, rapid, and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and reaching net-zero CO2 emissions. Limiting other greenhouse gases and air pollutants, especially methane, could have benefits both for health and the climate,” IPCC Working Group I Co-Chair Panmao Zhai said.
Guterres said the world must “act decisively” to attain the accord’s objective. Inclusive and green economies, prosperity, cleaner air, and better health are possible for all if we respond to this crisis with solidarity and courage,” he said.
Being a part of the solution to our climate crisis EDC has been focusing on developing and operating power plants that run on 100% renewable energy (RE) resources, mainly baseload geothermal and also solar, wind, and hydro to be a part of the solution to our warming planet.
Its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Federico Lopez said cooling down the planet’s temperature requires all humanity to take “paradigm shifts in the ways that we think, live, and do business.” And to help reverse global warming, Lopez said renewable sources must play a massive role in the energy business mainly by replacing a lot of carbon-intensive power plants.
In anticipation of an expanded role, EDC is growing its RE portfolio by putting up two binary power plants in its existing geothermal facilities in Bicol and Mount Apo and its pumped-storage hydro project in Nueva Ecija, which will be the first of its kind in the north of the Philippines. These new projects and EDC’s current total installed capacity of close to 1,500 megawatts will able to provide more clean, renewable power through the government’s energy programs focused on helping power customers shift to RE for their electricity requirements such as the Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS), the Retail Competition and Open Access (RCOA), and the Green Energy Option Program (GEOP).
RPS is a market-based mechanism that mandates industry players to source a portion of electricity from eligible RE sources. On the other hand, RCOA allows customers with monthly consumption of at least 500 kilowatts to choose their retail electricity supplier. GEOP, meanwhile, is another mechanism that lets electricity end-users with an average power consumption of 100 kilowatts choose RE for their source of power.
Through these programs, customers can lower their carbon footprint as well as reduce their electricity costs, but getting it from geothermal energy ensures that they have an uninterrupted supply of power. Geothermal is considered the Holy Grail among RE technologies because of its inherent capacity to provide baseload power – or simply Geo 24/7.
Powering businesses with baseload green energy Geo 24/7 is EDC’s own brand of geothermal energy that has been supplying stable, reliable alternative energy to the country in a way that also preserves the environment and uplifts communities.
Geothermal is an inexhaustible source of clean energy from the earth’s heat. The mixture of hot water and steam, under its own pressure, will flow up the pipe that was drilled down three kilometers deep below the ground. Upon reaching the surface, water and steam go through a separator that sends the steam to the power plant through pipelines to generate clean 24/7 power. EDC’s 1,181MW geothermal portfolio accounts for 62 percent of the country’s total installed geothermal capacity, putting the Philippines on the map as the third-largest geothermal producer in the world. What’s great about sourcing power from geothermal is that it is indigenous to our country and therefore, not susceptible to external fluctuations of fuel supply and prices—making it an ideal source of power for businesses that want to lower their carbon footprint and for the government’s efforts to green our electricity grid through its various programs.
EDC’s BacMan Geothermal, Inc. and Green Core Geothermal, Inc. facilities both have retail electricity supply and GEOP licenses to power businesses better and help them achieve their net-zero carbon targets, which is crucial in the world’s fight against climate change. Apart from providing a stable source of 100% RE, EDC’s efforts to change the climate include going beyond sustainability that only seeks to do less harm because doing so is no longer enough.
“We recognize the urgency of mankind’s grim situation on a planet that continues to accumulate more heat-trapping carbon dioxide. In this kind of situation, efforts to restore the world’s resources in incremental amounts are no longer enough to reverse the worrying pattern,” said Atty. Allan V. Barcena, head of EDC’s Corporate Social Responsibility and Public Relations Division.
Collaborative pathways As the whole world started battling with the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, EDC and the rest of the Lopez Group to which it belongs have boldly committed to forging collaborative pathways for a decarbonized and regenerative future.
This daunting 10-word mission calls for the group to look at businesses beyond being profit engines and create more shared value on top of shareholder value by elevating everything it touches–from the environment; to customers; communities; investors; and co-creators composed of employees, contractors, and other partners.
EDC and its main product, Geo 24/7, are at the heart of this mission and the company knows that it cannot achieve this on its own.
“We need to collaborate with like-minded companies, organizations, and individuals that share a genuine commitment to inclusive growth and environmental restoration so we can create exponential positive impact together,” said Barcena.
Apart from helping companies and individuals shift to RE, EDC forges partnerships that help sustain the environment.
EDC’s mission includes maintaining and regenerating the forests in its areas of operation. The company has been planting, growing, and nurturing lush forests in its geothermal watersheds.
In 2008, EDC launched its BINHI greening legacy program to bridge forest gaps and bring back to abundance 96 of our threatened Philippine native tree species. To date, the company has already reforested close to 10,000 hectares in its geothermal areas, with over six million BINHI seedlings planted.
BINHI is likewise a community empowerment program that incentivizes the farmers’ associations in EDC’s communities for helping its dedicated Watershed Management Teams manage the forests in its geothermal areas. From slash and burn farmers or kaingineros, they were transformed into forest stewards after years of being exposed to EDC’s pioneering environmental practices.
Thanks to their help, the forest under EDC’s care absorbs over 1.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) each year. Matched with its entire operation’s emissions of only a little over 966,000 tCO2e annually, EDC is a carbon negative company—probably the only one in this country where most businesses are just beginning to implement sustainable and low carbon practices.
The company has been relentlessly advocating for decarbonization among its customers and other partners to also help them improve their carbon footprint and work towards carbon neutrality.
In a country like ours where the power sector accounts for 51% of its energy-related carbon emissions, with extreme weather events becoming more frequent, the government’s ambitious target to reduce its carbon emissions by 75% come 2030 points us in the right direction towards defeating climate change. But we need to do it fast and on a larger scale. This is where forging collaborative pathways with EDC, with as many individuals, businesses, and nations as possible is crucial in regenerating our planet with the very little time that we have left to save it.
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.