Council bent to approve geothermal exploration

THE 17th Davao City Council is bent on setting up more power plants in the city after it approved on second reading on Tuesday a resolution endorsing the request of AboitizPower Corp. to conduct exploratory activities for geothermal resources.

Davao City is the third local government unit that approved the Aboitiz's request for exploration.

Councilor Louie John Bonguyan, City Council committee chair for energy, said the council approved the request for exploration phase to support the establishment of more power plants in the city to fully meet its demand for energy in coming years.

He said the city is quite fortunate "because power companies enter the city and suggest means of supplying power."

"I do not want nga muabot pa ta sa point nga naay long hours of brownout.

Kung kinsa ang naga apply sa atoa, if they are good, walay problema. If they comply all the necessary requirements para mag tukod sila ug power plant like geothermal, aprubahan nato. Mas daghan planta ang Davao City, mas maayo (I don't want us to suffer long hours of brownout. We study each proposal submitted to us. If they are good, then there's no problem. We will approve it as long as they comply all the requirements needed. The more power plants in Davao City, the better)," Bonguyan told reporters in an interview.

Aside from answering the demands for power, he said the city will also benefit from the taxes generated from the project.

"But we are also cautioned. Dili pud tanan. Like the hydro power plant nga girefer pa nato sa Watershed Management Council. So hinay-hinay lang but at the same time kita diri naa pud tay reliable and sustainable power (We do not hastily approve all requests. Like the hydro power plant, we referred it to the Watershed Management Council)," Bonguyan said.

Based on the committee report, the project will be located within the Mt. Apo Natural Park, covering 8,910 hectares and is located at the tri-boundary of Sta. Cruz, Davao City and Digos City.

The report said the Mt. Apo Geothermal Project will be composed of three phases of work -- exploration, construction, and operation of power plant.

There will be two activities during the exploration phase - geology (which is to study rock types, structures, volcanic history) and hydrology.

The AboitizPower will also conduct geochemistry by "estimating underground reservoir fluids and studying the chemistry of water and gas samples" and undertake magnetotelluri survey, which will "detect resistivity of geothermal structures, folds and the presence of cup rock and temperatures at various depths."

Manuel Orig, first vice president for Mindanao Affairs, earlier said the public demands for the geothermal power plant "because it is safe to the environment and to the health of the people."

"Plus it will result to electricity rates that are comparatively lower than the other rates of other power sources," he said.

The exploration will be undertaken by Mt. Apo Geothermal Inc. as a subsidiary of Aboitiz Power Corp.

The item is set to be approved on third and final reading during the regular session next week.
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