Climate change is currently one of the most pressing threats to humanity, but there is still time to stop it. Human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide are an overwhelming cause, so should the world stop burning the fossil fuels that emit them immediately, there is cause for hope.
That is the message of the most recent report released by the United Nations (UN). “It is indisputable that human activities are causing climate change,” says Ko Barrett, the vice-chair of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the senior adviser for climate at the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “Each of the last four decades has been the warmest on record since preindustrial times.”
It is the moral obligation of leaders in both the public and private sectors all over the world to transition to a cleaner, more sustainable energy system to reach the net-zero carbon emissions needed to halt the worsening of climate change. Clearly, such a massive endeavor would need the cooperation of everyone involved.
“The problem of climate change and its manifestations are expected to worsen to such a degree that no single entity or company can solve this problem,” Energy Development Corp. (EDC) Chairman and CEO Federico Lopez said.
“There is a need for businesses to elevate everything they touch — their customers, employees, suppliers, contractors, the environment, communities, and their investors. The urgency of the problem requires all of us to go beyond incremental sustainability and transform into regenerative forces that align our profit engines with the need for a better world and a safer planet.”
EDC, which has been providing clean, renewable power from geothermal sources to the Philippines for almost 40 years, has become the Philippines’ leading renewable energy producer and the world’s largest integrated geothermal producer. The company, and the rest of the Lopez Group to which it belongs, recently launched a new mission that recognizes the urgency of mankind’s grim situation on a planet that continues to accumulate more heat-trapping carbon dioxide.
If left unaddressed, rising global temperatures caused by climate change are set to unleash problems whose impact on humans could be far worse than the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, massive glaciers in the North Pole and Antarctica would irreversibly melt and turn low-lying areas — including large portions of Metro Manila — into “Waterworlds.” Heating oceans, in turn, would spawn with increasing regularity typhoons far stronger and deadlier than “Yolanda.”
For their part, EDC and its parent firm First Gen Corp. have long started working on ways to reduce their carbon footprint to contribute to the country’s effort towards fighting this grim future from happening. The work focuses on developing and operating power plants that run on RE resources — hydro, wind, solar and geothermal — to begin the process of shifting the country away from fossil fuels.
Geothermal power, in particular, differs from other RE technologies with its ability to provide reliable, stable baseload power. While energy harnessed from solar, wind, and hydro resources all help in decarbonizing our grid, they pose the problem of intermittency and seasonality of supply, such as during night times when there is no sunlight or during seasons of weak wind currents.
Being a reliable 24/7 source of clean, renewable energy that has minimal carbon emissions makes geothermal definitely better than non-RE sources of power. Moreover, geothermal energy is indigenous and is not susceptible to external fluctuations of fuel supply and prices as the Philippines naturally possesses abundant geothermal resources, which EDC has already been harnessing for 45 years.
Can renewable energy provide 24/7 power? Geothermal can! It’s the most stable source of baseload power among all RE sources. That’s why it’s Geo 24/7.
Furthermore, geothermal energy can be sustained indefinitely given two conditions: the prudent management of the resource and the protection of the watershed, which replenishes the resource. Given its importance in the renewable energy effort, EDC has enacted measures to sustain its geothermal resources by planting, growing, and maintaining lush forests in its geothermal watersheds.
EDC, through the initiative of its Chairman Emeritus Oscar M. Lopez, ramped up its reforestation program when it launched the BINHI greening legacy program in 2008 to bridge forest gaps and bring back to abundance 96 of the country’s threatened Philippine native tree species through its BINHI greening legacy.
Since then, EDC has already reforested close to 10,000 hectares in its geothermal areas, with over 6 million BINHI seedlings planted.
“With EDC’s massive reforestation efforts through our BINHI program, EDC has become a carbon negative company, meaning the minimal CO2 we produce is offset by all the CO2 absorbed by our reforested watersheds,” Mr. Lopez said.
But the company realizes that its efforts alone cannot bring the Philippines to a future with net-zero carbon emissions.
“Cooling down the planet’s temperature requires all humanity to take paradigm shifts in the ways that we think, live, and do business,” Mr. Lopez said.
“Nowhere is this need for paradigm shift more urgent than in the energy business — a business that contributes a lot to global warming and climate change. To help reverse global warming, RE sources must play a massive role in the energy business. They have to replace a lot of carbon-intensive power plants.”
In this expanded role, EDC is pursuing a program to develop new renewable energy facilities not only in the country but also overseas. In providing more options for customers and business partners, EDC hopes that it can collaborate with like-minded entities in shifting the world away from fossil fuels.
“Shifting to EDC’s Geo 24/7 will enable contestable customers to become one of the company’s regenerative partners that not only power their business better through clean, reliable, cost-competitive RE but also enjoy value-added services that include participation in EDC’s environmental and regenerative projects,” said Atty. Allan V. Barcena, head of EDC’s Corporate Social Responsibility and Public Relations Group.
“Similar to telco customers, qualified power consumers with monthly electricity consumption of at least 100 kilowatts now have the power of choice for their source and provider of electricity that will have a huge impact not only on their business or institution but also on our planet and the society. They now can personally take a stand for the environment, to reduce their carbon footprint as their contribution to fighting climate change, to establish their reputation/brand as a model not only for sustainability but for the next best practice of regenerative development by simply choosing where to buy electricity.”
For more information on how businesses can source green power, they may visit EDC’s site through https://www.energy.com.ph/shift-to-renewable-energy/.