THE 20-megawatt (MW) Maibarara-1 geothermal power facility (Maibarara-1) in Batangas won the Geothermal Power Project of 2016 award at the Asian Power Awards held last September 21, in Seoul, South Korea, the operator of the plant said on Monday.

The Asian Power Awards, now on its 12th year, is considered the Oscars of the power industry in Asia, recognizing ground-breaking projects and trailblazing initiatives in the power sector.

The Maibarara-1 facility in Sto. Tomas, Batangas is owned and operated by Maibarara Geothermal Inc. (MGI), a joint venture among PetroGreen Energy Corporation (PGEC) with 65 percent), Phinma Energy (with 25 percent), and PNOC-Renewables Corporation (10 percent).

PGEC is a subsidiary of publicly-listed PetroEnergy Resources Corporation.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) on Monday, MGI said the award acknowledges Maibarara-1’s innovative development, effective operations, and dynamism in the field of geothermal energy.

Building on its successful under-budget completion in February 2014 only 2.5 years from financial close, MGI has sustained two years of profitable commercial operations.

“This award shows that Filipino expertise and ingenuity in geothermal energy operations are second to none.

Such international recognition of MGI’s facility in just two years of commercial operations owes to the vision and wisdom of our Board, the dedication and professionalism of our team, and the engagement and cooperation of our stakeholders in regulatory agencies, private industry, and host communities,” MGI president F.G. Delfin Jr. said in a statement.

In 2015, MGI was able to minimize unscheduled shutdowns and to increase load nomination and net generation from the lender-committed 18.5 MWe to 18.8 MWe. This led to increases in availability factor from 95.7 to 98.2 percent, net capacity factor from 89.5 to 91.8 percent, and net income by 28 percent compared to 2014.

In addition, MGI also confirmed a larger geothermal reservoir in Maibarara with the successful step-out drilling and completion of well MB-15D, which has at least ~6 MWe output.

MGI is currently constructing the steamfield and power plant components of Maibarara-2, a 12 MWe expansion within the existing developed site aimed for commercial operations by late 2017.

This additional investment comes after MGI secured a P1.4 billion loan with Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation and signed a long-term energy sales contract with Phinma Energy in January 2016.

MGI has contracted Fuji Corporation of Japan to build and supply the turbine/generator for Maibarara-2, currently the only active construction of a new geothermal power plant in the country.