CITY OF TABUK, Kalinga, Oct. 15 (PIA) – – Geothermal exploration in the province is progressing with drilling targeted to start next year.

Kalinga Geothermal Project, a consortium of Aragorn Power and Energy Corporation, Guidance Management Corporation and Allfirst Kalinga Ltd., is given a two-year extension for its exploration permit. It is now on Phase 3 (exploration drilling) which includes memorandum of agreement signing and declaration of its commerciality.

The geothermal project’s projected capacity is 100MW with a service contract of 260 square kilometres covering barangays in Pasil, Lubuagan and Tinglayan. It has contracts in place with First Balfour as general contractor and Drill Corp. for drilling. It has also completed community development projects in four of eight ancestral domains.

The Department of Energy granted the project a Certificate of Energy Project of National Significance (CEPNS) on August 14 this year. It is one of only four applicants issued with the CEPNS from 23 applicants that were accepted out of 306 applications filed.

During a recent meeting with government stakeholders, the consortium representatives said they will continue to engage the affected communities and other stakeholders and plans to construct access roads to project site and well pads for the targeted well testing in the second quarter of 2019.

Consultations with seven affected barangays in Tinglayan, three in Lubuagan and one in Pasil were already completed and closed with MOA per ancestral domain forged. Discussions are ongoing in two ancestral domains of Pasil while negotiations ongoing in seven barangays, also in Pasil, they said.

National Commission on Indigenous Peoples –Cordillera Director Roland Calde said their concern is to ensure that host communities of development projects such as on power generation are consulted and taken their consent, and that they benefit from these projects.

Meanwhile, Vice Gov. James Edduba said he has been pushing for the project to materialize since he was the local chief executive of Pasil. Now that he is with the provincial LGU, he assured the company the necessary assistance.

Gov. Jocel Baac called on affected communities to set aside personal benefits and think to consider first long term benefits. “Let’s give way to this exploration and later talk with them (company) when it is ripe for development and is going to operate,” he said.

The generation of clean and cheap energy from renewable energy sources is one of the agenda of Pres. Duterte. He signed Executive Order No. 30 creating the Energy Investment Coordinating Council in order to streamline the regulatory procedures affecting energy projects.

It provides among others a 30-day period to act on ESPN applications which is in compliance to the provision of RA 11032, or An Act Promoting Ease Of Doing Business And Efficient Delivery Of Government Services which the President recently approved.

Kalinga has been known as a geothermal prospect for over 50 years. In 1964, it was first identified by COMVOL (now PHIVOLCS) as one of the top three geothermal prospects in Luzon for power production. (JDP/PAB-PIA CAR, Kalinga).

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