Tapping into the earth’s vast geothermal energy reserves to create electricity in countries like the Muslim country of Indonesia, which has frequent volcanic activity, is becoming a very ecological friendly way to solve energy needs.
Geothermal energy is also being tapped in Middle Eastern countries like Jordan, which recently completed the Middle East’s largest geothermal system. Besides Indonesia, another South Asian country, the Philippines, is expanding its geothermal energy “reserves” and presently creates around 27 percent of its total electricity from these sources.
In a recent CNN Eco Solutions program, Richard B. Tantoco, President and COO of Energy Development Corporation (EDC) , the country’s largest energy development company, said that the decision to exploit the country’s geothermal energy resources came out of necessity due to the increasing cost of oil and other fossil fuels.
“Oil became much more expensive in the 1970’s; and following the Yom Kipper War and Arab oil embargo it increased in price six times. As a result, we had to look for other energy sources and found that we had an ample supply of geothermal energy reserves,” said Tantoco.
The two main EDC geothermal plants in the Philippines are Bacman I and Bacman II. Both plants cover an area of 18,870 hectares (7,636.58 acres) and include the boundary of Legaspi City, Sorsogon City, Bacon District of Sorsogon City and the town of Manito Albay in the Bicol Region, South of Luzon.
Geothermal in Jordan
Total electricity output of the two plants is 130MW. By contrast, the MENA geothermal plant in Jordan, said to be the largest of its kind in the Middle East, is producing around 1.7 MW.
The Philippines development of geothermal energy has resulted in it being the number two developer of this energy source in the world; behind only the USA. Due to very little polluting energy needed to develop geothermal energy, it is very ecologically clean, says Mr. Tantoco.
“Countries that are using geothermal energy import less oil, gas and coal” he adds. EDC, which initially received help from the New Zealand government, is now exporting this technology to other countries; and now has exploration projects in Indonesia, Chili, and Peru. To make the geothermal energy process even more environmental friendly, steam distilled from the turbines and the water is sent back into the ground by a process known as “resurgence”.
In addition to these geothermal projects, EDC also has projects involving hydro-electric and wind power. “We have now been involved in ecological energy for more than 40 years; and have gained a lot of experience in doing so” says Tantoco.”