PH, New Zealand ex­pand trade co­op­er­a­tion on geo­ther­mal en­ergy

Manila Bulletin - - Front Page - By MADE­LAINE B. MI­RAFLOR AL­FONSO CUSI DAVID STRA­CHAN

The Philip­pines and New Zealand have de­cided to ex­tend their co­op­er­a­tion on the de­vel­op­ment of the coun­try's geo­ther­mal re­sources, a move that was for­mal­ized on the side­lines of the 31st ASEAN Sum­mit and Re­lated Meet­ings be­ing held now in the coun­try.

En­ergy Chief Al­fonso Cusi con­firmed yes­ter­day that the Depart­ment of En­ergy (DOE) has just signed an amended mem­o­ran­dum of agree­ment (MOA) with New Zealand Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs on Trade on co­op­er­a­tion re­lated to geo­ther­mal power re­sources.

"The ob­jec­tive of the agree­ment is to en­hance en­ergy co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the Philip­pines and New Zealand through gov­ern­ment col­lab­o­ra­tion and the fa­cil­i­ta­tion of pri­vate sec­tor ini­tia­tives," Cusi said in a text mes­sage.

Held in Makati, the sign­ing cer­e­mony for the MOA was led by Cusi and New Zealand Am­bas­sador to the Philip­pines David Stra­chan and was wit­nessed by no less than New Zealand Prime Min­is­ter Jacinda Ardern.

The MOA aims to fur­ther strengthen and en­hance the co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two coun­tries on geo­ther­mal en­ergy co­op­er­a­tion through gov­ern­mentlevel col­lab­o­ra­tion and the fa­cil­i­ta­tion of pri­vate sec­tor ac­tiv­i­ties.

Ac­cord­ing to Cusi, the geo­ther­mal en­ergy co­op­er­a­tion be­tween Philip­pines and New Zealand "ex­pired in Oc­to­ber of this year and will be re­newed for an­other three years".

The amend­ment will now pave the way for the con­tin­u­ous ex­change of ex­pe­ri­ences and tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance in the field of geo­ther­mal en­ergy ex­plo­ration, de­vel­op­ment and uti­liza­tion through ca­pac­ity build­ing and share of in­for­ma­tion, knowl­edge and cur­rent trends on geo­ther­mal en­ergy.

The Philippine gov­ern­ment be­gan tap­ping the ex­per­tise of New Zealand firms in de­vel­op­ing the coun­try’s geo­ther­mal re­sources as early as 2012.

This, as it com­mit­ted to spur the de­vel­op­ment of the coun­try's geo­ther­mal out­put.

As of now, re­new­able en­ergy plants — geo­ther­mal, hy­dro, wind, biomass and so­lar — ac­count for the big­gest share of the coun­try’s to­tal in­stalled power ca­pac­ity.

By 2030, the Philip­pines, un­der the Na­tional Re­new­able En­ergy Pro­gram, is tar­get­ing to have a to­tal in­stalled geo­ther­mal ca­pac­ity of 3,461.0 megawatts (MW) from only 1,966 MW in 2010.

Ad­di­tional data from DOE also showed that the DOE has so far ap­proved 755 re­new­able projects with a po­ten­tial ca­pac­ity of 16,949 MW, of which projects to­tal­ing 4,522 MW were in­stalled last year.

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