Mindoro gov’t drops support for major geothermal project

Published July 7, 2019, 7:07 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Jerry Alcayde

CALAPAN CITY, Oriental Mindoro – The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) of Oriental Mindoro has withdrawn its endorsement to a multi-million geothermal energy project, saying the proponent failed to provide the necessary power supply to Mindoro island.

In a resolution, the board rescinded its resolution in 2014 endorsing the Montelago Geothermal Project (MGP) of Emerging Power Inc. (EPI) for the drilling of geothermal wells as part of the exploration process to determine the viability of the $180-million energy project.

The board said Emerging Power failure to deliver its commitment to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and the Oriental Mindoro Electric Cooperative (ORMECO) Inc., based on the terms and conditions postulated under the Power Supply Agreement.

In 2014, Emerging Power Inc. assumed from Constellation Energy Corp. Geothermal Renewable Energy Service Contract No. 2014-02-054 which covers 3,914 hectares for the development of a geothermal project in Barangay Montelago in Naujan town.

The proponent reportedly told SP that by 2015, it could start operations and eventually provide supply of electricity for the whole island which is eyed at 40-megawatts.

ORMECO and EPI had an existing agreement since Feb. 3, 2014.

“It is unfortunate that for almost five years, the MGP is yet to operate to start its proponent’s promise of providing 40-MW for the whole island of Mindoro,” the SP said in its resolution.

Last March 12, ORMECO endorsed before the Department of Energy the rescission of ORMECO PSA with EPI and its assignee, Mindoro Geothermal Power Corp.

The board cited ORMECO’s rising power demand and the frequent brownouts in the different municipalities to back up its the resolution, saying further that ORMECO needs viable Independent Power Producers so it could provide the province with a reliable, sustainable and affordable supply of electricity.