More than 40 years since it began operating, Lopez-owned renewable energy leader Energy Development Corporation (EDC) continues to live up to its mandate of generating low carbon, indigenous power to reduce the country’s dependence on imported fossil fuels and help us achieve a sustainable future.
EDC is the largest 100% renewable energy (RE) company in the country, operating 1,181 MW of geothermal, 150 MW of wind, 132 MW of hydroelectric power, and 12 MW of solar energy for a total of 1,475 MW of clean and renewable energy.
Also acknowledged for its pioneering global expertise in geothermal technology, EDC accounts for 61% of the country’s total installed geothermal capacity and has put the Philippines on the map as the world’s 3rd largest geothermal producer. EDC confirms that geothermal is the Holy Grail among RE technologies because it is the only form of RE that can provide base load or 24/7 power. Hence, EDC’s refers to its own brand of harnessing geothermal as Geo 24/7.
Sustainability has always been at the heart of Geo 24/7 and EDC’s commitment to empower Filipinos not only through the clean, renewable, reliable power that it has been supplying at cost competitive rates but also by way of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs that uplift lives and enhance the environment in its areas of operation.
In 2019, EDC has released nearly P97 million, with about P41 million allocated for its education programs, more than P35.44 million for its environment-related advocacies, and the remaining P20.09 million was utilized for its livelihood, information, education and communication programs, IP upliftment, and community local needs.
“As we celebrate 44 years in the industry, we take pride not only in our globally acknowledged geothermal expertise that eventually enabled us to become the country’s leading renewable energy producer but also in our triumphs as our host communities’ partner for change and development,” said Atty. Allan V. Barcena, head of EDC’s CSR-Public Relations.
Education for All
Education is, not surprisingly, the centerpiece of EDC’s community empowerment efforts.
“Education opens more doors of opportunity for the youth, which comprise a huge percentage of our host communities,” emphasized Barcena.
In 2019, EDC’s Careers program, which provides tertiary education financial support and mentoring to top-performing students from its geothermal sites’ partner high schools, was able to produce 34 graduates, including a a Negrense scholar who graduated magna cum laude while eight other cum laude graduates from its other sites. Also, 20 scholar-graduates have successfully passed their respective 2019 licensure examinations for chemical engineers, mechanical engineers, geologists, teachers, and fisheries technologies, among others. The Careers program has so far produced a total of 77 graduates since 2010 and currently supports 108 scholars from the University of the Philippines and other top universities and colleges in its areas of operation.
In the same year, EDC-supported KEITECH Educational Foundation in Kananga, Leyte celebrated its 10th year anniversary as a world class technical-vocational school with a consistent 100% passing rate. One hundred fifty trainees have graduated and are on their way to becoming the world’s greatest nation builders like KEITECH’s over 1,000 alumni.
In addition to having a 100 % clean, renewable energy portfolio that is vital to the world’s fight against climate change, EDC has been implementing its BINHI greening legacy — a program that aims to restore denuded forests, preserve and propagate threatened native tree species, and protect biodiversity to leave a legacy of a verdant Philippines for the next generation.
“Through BINHI, we were able to restore close to 10,000 hectares of denuded forests inside our geothermal reservations and other watershed areas since we began implementing it in 2009,” Barcena said.
Part of BINHI’s achievements are the 96 premium endangered native trees that EDC has identified, located, and rescued. They are currently being propagated in the company’s automated nurseries in Valencia, Negros Oriental and in Antipolo, Rizal.
To date, EDC and its 177 BINHI partners have collectively established 13 arboreta as well as 164 tree parks that serve as safe havens for threatened native tree species.
Moreover, EDC’s efforts have taken root as it gained global recognition for BINHI. The Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) tapped EDC in 2019 as its first and sole partner for its Global Tree Assessment program. BGCI is part of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), an organization that formulates measures for the protection of the environment through data gathering, research, field projects, advocacy, and education. The partnership involves the conduct of conservation status assessments for 800 Philippine endemic tree species for the period of two years.
By generating power purely from renewable sources and through its BINHI greening legacy that helps the company manage its geothermal reservations or close to 1% of the country’s total land area, EDC’s vegetation absorbs close to five times the amount of its emissions each year, making it a carbon neutral company at the least.
The company’s forest protection and restoration initiatives enable it to capture and store carbon at a rate of more than 1.1 million tons annually, equivalent to 3.9 million tons of carbon dioxide.
Inevitable shift to RE
Beyond sustainability, EDC strives to regenerate, to become more resilient, and to keep on pushing for the use of geothermal and even other forms of renewable energy.
“We will keep on improving our impact to society and to our planet as we find better, more efficient ways of supplying the clean, renewable 24/7 power that our country and even the whole world need,” said Barcena. “It’s the only way to have a livable planet for our current and future generations.”
EDC is part of the First Gen Corporation (“First Gen”) Group, which has the country’s largest portfolio of
power plants using clean and renewable technology. Its 1,475MW total installed capacity accounts for 37% of the country’s total generated renewable energy while its 1,181MW geothermal portfolio accounts for 61% of the country’s total installed geothermal capacity and has put the Philippines on the map as the 3rd largest geothermal producer.