By Danny O. Calleja
Apart from the two giant geothermal power fields in Albay and Sorsogon and hydropower facilities in Camarines Sur and Catanduanes, Bicol has several other potential sources of renewable energy capable of generating significant amount of electricity for its localities up to the Luzon Grid.
The two currently functional energy sites are the 289-megawatt (MW) Tiwi Geothermal Field being operated by Chevron Geothermal Philippines in Tiwi, Albay and the 151-MW Bacon-Manito (BacMan) Geothermal Project under the Energy Development Corporation (EDC) located within the boundaries of Manito, Albay and Bacon District of Sorsogon City.
The still untapped potential power sources but are being subjected to preliminary exploration activities include three more geothermal resource sites at the Mt. Isarog in Camarines Sur, Mt. Labo in Camarines Norte and Mt. Bulusan in Sorsogon capable of a combine output of about 180 megawatts (MW) of power as identified in the Philippine Energy Plan (PEP) 2003-2012.
According to the Bicol regional office of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the Philippine National Oil Company-Renewable Corporation (PNOC-RC) has been granted a survey contract covering 16,291 hectares of Mt. Isarog to validate its actual geothermal energy capability which was estimated at 70 MW.