Meralco expanding microgrid project in Quezon province

By Danessa Rivera – July 12, 2019 – 12:00am
from The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) is expanding its pilot microgrid project in Cagbalete, Quezon for P219 million.

Meralco filed an application with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to put up the P219-million Cagbalete Island microgrid electrification expansion project.

The project will utilize a scaled-up hybrid generation system using solar photovoltaic panels, diesel generators and lithium-ion battery storage.

Meralco’s pilot project in the area is also a hybrid generation system completed in January this year.

The power distributor decided to expand the project given the clamor of Cagbalete residents not covered by the pilot project.

Currently, a majority of island residents rely on privately-owned diesel generator units seeling electricity at P55 per kilowatt-hour (kwh) for seven hours of service a day.

The ERC’s go signal is important to conduct procurement of materials, detailed engineering design, site development, lot acquisition and civil works, installation, testing and commissioning of solar photovoltaic panels, diesel generators and lithium-ion battery storage.

“Meralco cannot start any of the preparatory activities without the necessary approval of the honorable commission,” the company said in its application.

If approved, the expanded microgrid project would take eight months to be completed. The project was originally targeted for completion in December.

The project is seen “to bolster the economic potential and will promote the vast untapped potential of the island as an eco-tourism destination,” Meralco said.

Last January, Meralco switched on its first microgrid project in Isla Verde, Batangas, giving power services to 30 households.

It had collaborated with Batangas City local government unit (LGU), United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for a 32-kilowatt (kW) solar panel microgrid and 192-kwh battery storage facility.

Microgrid is a small-scale power grid that can be operated independently from the country’s interconnected network of power transmission facilities.

It supports the distribution utility’s initiatives toward using more sustainable energy sources and highlights efforts on rural electrification, a point of focus by President Duterte, who has said that he wanted to put a stop to hurdles in the electrification of rural areas.