The Tiaong-Dolores geothermal project occupies 49,167 hectares in the provinces of Laguna and Quezon, covering the municipalities of Tiaong, Dolores, San Pablo, and even Candelaria. Subdivided politically, Tiaong is made up of 31 barangays (small administrative districts), while Dolores has 16.
The contract site is near two other geothermal plants, affirming that it is within an area of high geothermal potential.
Just southeast of the project area is the 385-MW Makiling Banahaw Geothermal Power Plant (MakBan) in Calauan, Laguna, which was commissioned in 1979 and has been operated by Aboitiz Power Renewable Inc. since May 2009.
The Maibarara Geothermal Power Plant (20+MW) in Sto. Tomas, Batangas, an integrated power facility comprising of steamfield, power station, and transmission line, is the newest geothermal power facility in the country and was the first under Pres. Benigno S. Aquino’s administration, which ended in 2016. It is operated by Maibarara Geothermal, Inc. (MGI), a joint-venture company 65%-owned by PetroGreen Energy Corp. (PGEC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of publicly-listed PetroEnergy Resources Cop. (PERC). TransAsia Oil & Energy Development Corp. (TAO) and PNOC Renewables Corp. (PNOC-RC) own 25% and 10% respectively of MGI.
The Tiaong-Dolores project area, which is within the Macolod Corridor, a highly volcanic zone where MakBan and Maibarara are located, is also near the Mount Banahaw Volcanic Complex, which is composed of Mount Banahaw, Mount San Cristobal, and Mount Banahaw de Lucban, and is within the Luzon Volcanic Arc (LVA).
The Macolod Corridor, an active Quaternary volcanic area aligned perpendicular to the Manila Trench, has strongly influenced the presence of this project’s resource as well as those of the operating MakBan and Maibarara geothermal fields.
Ideal Project Location
Accessibility to Urban Areas
The contract site, though surrounded by natural geological features, is close to urban areas, guaranteeing an extensive network of paved roads and the absence of logistical challenges.
The 150-kilometer Maharlika Highway in Quezon, which is the country’s principal transportation backbone, running from the Quezon-Laguna boundary in Tiaong town down to Calauag town in the Quezon-Bicol boundary, is near the contract site.
Proximity to the Nation’s Industrial Belt
The national highway brings together the economic powerhouse that is the CALABARZON area, also known as Region IV-A, the country’s second most densely populated and the most populous administrative region, that consists of the highly urbanized provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon.
Collectively the CALABARZON, the regional center of which is in Calamba, Laguna, is the second-largest contributing region to the national GDP, accounting for up to 17.2%. The region ranks second only to Metro Manila in the number of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), making up to 13.7% of the total national number of businesses, based on the Survey of Philippine Business and Industry in 2013.
This is an AVP posted by the Department of Tourism – CALABARZON (DOT Region IV CALABARZON) in November 2015.
As of 2015, CALABARZON attained first place in the most hired-on-the-spot ranking for the year, surpassing Metro Manila as the most successful in hiring job seekers and employment, according to the Department of Labor and Employment.
The largest city in Laguna, San Pablo City, is also one of the country’s oldest. A first class city, it is also known as the City of Seven Lakes.
The island of Luzon, where CALABARZON and the country’s capital, Metro Manila, is located, is the top consumer of power in the country, accounting for 70-75% of nationwide energy usage. The project area is relatively near the capital. Distance from the capital to Mount Banahaw, for example, is only 106km, a mere 2-hour and 30-minute drive.
The Tiaong-Dolores geothermal project is within the franchise area of the nation’s largest electricity distribution utility, Manila Electric Company (Meralco), and is within the network of the interconnected transmission towers and substations of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP). The NGCP’s South Luzon service area is divided into three (3) districts: Bicol, which covers Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay and Sorsogon; South Eastern Tagalog, assigned with Laguna and Quezon; and, South Western Tagalog, which handles Batangas, Cavite and South of Metro Manila.
Favorable Climate for Renewable Energy
The strong presence of environmental consciousness in Luzon makes renewable energy a preferred source of power, thus ensuring community acceptability and making it more difficult to permit coal power plants.
Furthermore, Environment Secretary Regina Paz L. Lopez, who managed to shut down 7 of 27 nickel mines since a strictly enforced audit of mining operations began last July 8, stated an aggressive push toward clean energy. In a report written by Jee Y. Geronimo and published in rappler.com on August 14, 2016, Lopez, who became the chief of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) last June, has long been a critic of fossil fuel use for energy.
As of September 2016, the DENR issued a memorandum requiring coal plant developers to obtain additional clearances from the Climate Change Commission (CCC) and the office of Sen. Loren Legarda, who chairs the Senate Committee on Climate Change, on top of the other 156 or so permits coal plant applicants still need to secure.
The MT or magnetotelluric resource assessment identified potential high temperature reservoirs within or on the margins of the Tiaong Contract Area. Both prospects, delineated primarily by prominent MT resistivity anomalies associated with Quaternary-age silicic volcanic domes flanking composite andesitic volcanoes, show strongly suggestive of a shallow magmatic heat source capable of supporting a significant geothermal system, according to internationally recognized geothermal consultants Red Core works with for resource assessment and 3D resource modelling.
Indeed, the nearby producing geothermal fields at Mak-Ban (386 MW) and Maibarara (20 MW) both occur in closely analogous geologic settings to the Tiaong prospects.
The Makiling-Banahaw Geothermal Plant (MakBan), operated by Aboitiz Power Renewable, Inc., is already operating in Calauan, Laguna near the site, thus ensuring social acceptability within the communities around the area. The MakBan is the 4th largest geothermal plant in the world.