Meralco seeking partners for renewable energy projects

by Alena Mae S. Flores – November 23, 2015 at 11:10 pm

from Manila Standard

Power retailer Manila Electric Co. said Monday it is looking for local and international partners to build renewable energy projects.

“Given the global developments on RE and especially solar, Meralco is itself interested in exploring partnerships with local and global players. We think that the RE space will grow, and we want to be part of that growth,” Meralco senior vice president for customer retail services and corporate communications Al Panlilio said.

Panlilio said Meralco wanted to go into solar projects, but the company was also focused on ensuring safe and reliable operation of the distribution grid.

“We need to understand that the solar installation in a house or business can affect the stability and safety of the distribution grid and may place other nearby customers at risk. We also recognize that solar photovoltaic installations that are synchronized with the grid are dependent upon the quality of power delivered by the distribution utility,” Panlilio said.

Anne Reodica, Meralco program manager for renewables, said there was a need to put in place standards for solar contractors to ensure safety.

“Although there are solar PV installation standards mandated by the government, there are unfortunately no standards on the accreditation of solar contractors, and equipment standards are still being developed to date,” Reodica said.

Panlilio said the company’s efforts to support solar energy were driven by Meralco chairman Manuel Pangilinan’s vision to embrace change and innovation.

“He believes that Meralco should stay ahead of the curve on solar and renewable energy and on point with customers abreast with technology,” he said.

Pangilinan earlier announced plans to venture into renewable energy, noting that “the infrastructure cost of renewables, particularly solar and wind, have been decreasing.”

“We are mindful of technological developments capable of disrupting Meralco’s business model. In that light we are looking to participate in the renewable energy space, particularly solar and wind,” Pangilinan said.

“We are looking at solar. Particularly, not just utility grade solar but we will start probably with rooftops so for that business, we need to have a separate subsidiary and separate management,” he said.

Meralco PowerGen is presently developing three coal-fired power plants, including the 1,200-megawatt Atimonan coal plant in Quezon, 45- MW Mauban coal project also in Quezon and RP Energy’s 300-MW to 600-MW coal plant in Subic.