Meralco PowerGen eyes 150 MW wind project in Ilocos Norte

By Myrna M. Velasco – December 20, 2017, 10:00 PM
from Manila Bulletin

The power generation arm of Manila Electric Company (Meralco) is keenly looking at two wind power projects that could add up 300 megawatts (MW) capacity to its portfolio in the immediate term.

In a lunch briefing with the media, Meralco PowerGen President Rogelio L. Singson said these targeted projects are sited in Ilocos Norte where most of the current wind farm developments are; and one is along the Meralco franchise area in a province proximate to Metro Manila.

“We’re talking to a number of developers … one in the north where there’s a lot of existing wind generation and one is closer to Manila, close to Meralco franchise area,” he said.

The prospect in Ilocos, he said, is of 150 MW capacity; and the targeted investment close to Manila is of parallel installation.

Singson has not been very specific about the identity of the prospective partner in Ilocos; but for the venture close to Manila, he just tipped off that he has a meeting with former Energy Secretary and Alternergy Philippine Holdings Corporation President Vincent S. Perez Jr. this Tuesday.

Perez, as widely known, is pursuing the 72MW Sembrano wind farm project as an expansion of its 54MW Pililla wind facility in Rizal province.

The Meralco PowerGen chief executive opined that “when the coal tax kicks in, that (planned wind developments) would even become more competitive.”

The Sembrano wind power project in particular had been cast on blueprint on assumptions then that it could qualify for any third round of feed-in-tariff (FIT) incentives.

But with the Department of Energy’s (DOE) declaration on termination of the FIT regime, renewable energy project sponsors would really need to explore alternative business models on their forward investments.

As conveyed by Meralco PowerGen Executive Vice President and General Manager Dan Neil, “we have been looking for projects over the years, but Mr. (Oscar) Reyes (Meralco President) is focused on the cost of energy for consumers.”

At this stage when RE technology costs had already been on precipitous slides over the years, there is greater probability now for the company to push for such kind of generation facilities.