Questions for EDC on the Geothermal Project in Mt. Kanlaon

Energy Development Corporation (formerly PNOC-EDC) has until December 2011 to produce 40 MW of electricity from the “Buffer Zone” of Mt.Kanlaon, at least that is what the provincial board said recently. For the moment, EDC’s consultants from Australia and the United States are trying to determine where EDC can drill to produce additional steam for its geothermal powerplant.

This raises questions, the first being, how many more hectares of primary forest does EDC intend to clear for the new wel pad/s and the road system leading to this? In 2008, EDC said, all we’re asking is 12.5 hectares. Now it seems EDC is asking for some more. How many more hectares, how many more trees? We must in fact ask if it is possible for a geothermal project to operate only with its original wells or if new wells will have to be drilled within the buffer zone during the lifetime of the Northern Negros Geothermal Project? Will these wells be drilled from the two well pads described in EDC’s 2007 Proposed Development and Environmental Management Plan or must new areas be cleared for these new wells?

The scenario presented in PNOC-EDC’s 1995 Environmental Impact Statement page 2-57 and 2-58 is alarming.

“Stimulation studies show that, as expected in any large-scale production, the geothermal reservoir will experience a rapid pressure decline in the initial years of full load exploitation. These large pressure drops may result in decreased steam flows leading to lower power generation capacity. After the existing reinjection sector is no longer acceptable because of reinjection returns to production, a new reinjection sector must be identified. In both cases, drilling of additional wells for maintenance and replacement will be a necessity. These wells are estimated to be drilled at an average rate of 2 to5 wells a year.”

When PNOC-EDC sought the Provincial Board’s approval in 2008, PNOC-EDC showed a development plan with 2 well pads in 12.5 hectares of the buffer zone. 12.5 hectares of primary forest wasn’t that difficult surrender in exchange for 40 MW of what the Sanggunian believed was badly needed electricity. But was the Provincial Board informed of the number of additional wells that will have to be drilled during the lifetime of the project? In the Master Development Plan found in PNOC-EDC’s Environmental Assessment and Management Plans for PNOC-EDC Access to Portions of the Northern Negros Geothermal Block Within the Mt. Kanlaon National Park, there are 7 sinister bug-like ovals in the buffer zone in the right side of the Master Development Plan and a road network snakes from these to the powerplant outside the buffer zone.

The Masterplan shows that the 12.5 hectares and the promise of 40 MW was just EDC’s way of getting its destructive chainsaws and drilling rigs into Mt.Kanlaon. It is clear from this Master Plan that EDC had no intention of stopping at 12.5 hectares. Furthermore, we are now being told the truth, though in whispers, that EDC no longer expects to reach the 40 MW target.

How many megawatts of electricity are the people of Negros being promised as a return for the destruction of irreplaceable and rapidly diminishing primary forest ? 15 MW? 20 MW? 25 MW? This time EDC is not promising anything. Don’t we have a right to know what we’re getting in exchange for risking the health and balance of our ecology, for endangering further the critically endangered species that should be our legacy to future generations? Considering how “critically endangered” means a 50% chance of extinction within 5 years, by IUCN and World Bank standards, an area with even just one critically endangered species should be strictly protected.

How can the Provincial Board and the good people of Negros again permit wild elephant EDC to go on a speculative rampage and destroy more of the buffer zone? When you look at EDC’s website and see how it lists the North Negros Geothermal Project area as 169 hectares, it seems clear that EDC looks at the “buffer zone” as zona libre for its project. You don’t need to stretch your imagination to know what is likely to happen if you leave a mad elephant in a forest where he can do as he pleases.

See this article in the website of the Coalition to Save Kanlaon, http://greennegros.webs.com/apps/blog/show/7522708-questions-for-edc-on-the-kanlaon-geothermal-project.

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Posted on July 1, 2011, in DigiBak and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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