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First Gen unit aims to complete two geothermal projects by next year

FIRST GEN Corp. said on Wednesday that its subsidiary Energy Development Corp. (EDC) plans to complete two of its geothermal projects by 2022, as the parent firm expressed its intention to expand into businesses that complement its power generation operations.

In its annual report, First Gen said that EDC is expecting to begin the construction of its 3.6-megawatt (MW) Mindanao 3 binary plant by the first quarter this year, and complete the project by the first half of 2022.

It added that it plans to complete its 28.9-MW ORC (organic rankine cycle) binary plant within the Bac-Man geothermal facility by the second half of 2022. The Palayan Bayan-based binary plant will produce power using residual brine from the existing steam field of the Bac-Man facilities.

In its regulatory filing, First Gen also said that it is in the process of developing a pumped-storage facility that will increase the capacity of the existing 132-MW Pantabangan-Masiway hydro plant in Nueva Ecija by 100 MW.

“The facility is expected to store and generate electricity by moving water between the Pantabangan reservoir and the Masiway reservoir, which are situated at different elevations,” the firm said.

It added that the project is meant to allow full-year operations “independent of the irrigation demands from the National Irrigation Administration.”

First Gen, which has a license to develop at least four hydroelectric projects, said that it was strengthening its expertise so it can begin the construction of its 32-MW Bubunawan run-of-river hydro power project in Mindanao, subject to the local market and regulations.

It also said it “expects to play a major role in the development of downstream natural gas transmission and distribution facilities, and other projects using renewable sources of energy.”

The company added that it is continuing to explore and assess growth prospects in Indonesia, Chile, Peru, and other countries in the Asia-Pacific and Latin American regions.

Last month, the Lopez group’s power generation arm said that its attributable net income to equity holders declined by 7% to P13.7 billion last year, citing a drop in electricity sales and lower earnings from its natural gas portfolio.

As of end-2019, the firm recorded a total installed capacity of 3,492 MW from its natural gas, geothermal, hydro, wind, and solar portfolios.

Shares of First Gen in the local bourse improved 2.65% or 80 centavos to close at P30.95 apiece on Wednesday. — Angelica Y. Yang

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