By Madelaine B. Miraflor
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 government-level 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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