Meralco set to venture into renewable energy

by Lenie LecturaJune 1, 2016

from Business Mirror

MANILA Electric Co. (Meralco) officials said the company, through its power-generation arm and its solar-power unit, is keen on developing renewable energy (RE), as the coal-power plant takes a backseat in its power portfolio.

Meralco President Oscar S. Reyes said, “MGen [Meralco PowerGen] has a full plate” already. Reyes was referring to MGen’s coal-power projects, which are all coal-power plants.

As to its foray into RE, Meralco created MSpectrum, the entity that will take on the solar-power business of Meralco.

“We formed a new company, Spectrum, to take a look at rooftop and utility-scale solar installations. We are still in the process of building up the team,” Meralco Senior Vice President Alfredo Panlilio said.

He said MSpectrum will initially operate with 20 megawatts (MW) of power-generating capacity.

“We are still looking at key accounts, but initially, commercial and industrial would be our focus and residential would be more opportunistic in terms of engagements,” Panlilio said. “We are serious in getting into renewable energy. We know this is something that will be a different business model for Meralco.”

Aside from solar, Reyes cited wind, hydro and biomass as other RE sources included in the power firm’s portfolio. “We are actually going into that direction now because we have sort of laid out all our baseload requirements well into the next few years,” he said, adding that other RE business, particularly the large-scale renewables, would be under MGen.

Reyes said Meralco’s business direction is more on “how we serve our mid-merit and peaking requirements. I think solar being intermittent will really play a role together with battery storage.”

Part of its RE strategy, added Reyes, is to create joint ventures with “established and credible partners.”

“For other RE projects, our approach will continue to be partnerships, except for smaller ones,” Reyes said.

Panlilio earlier said Meralco’s impending entry in RE could lead to possible partnerships with local and foreign entities already involved in the RE space.

“Given the global developments on RE and especially solar, Meralco is itself interested in exploring partnerships with local and global players,” he said. “We think the RE space will grow, and we want to be part of that growth.”