Meralco still in talks for coal plant

by Lenie Lectura – November 30, 2015

from Business Mirror

The power-generation arm of the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), Meralco PowerGen Corp. (MGen), continues to engage in discussions with prospective partners for the construction of a 1,200-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant in Quezon.

“We are talking to a number of parties, but we are not yet in the position to discuss whom we are talking to,” said Meralco President Oscar Reyes, who added that it’s been a strategy of the company to pursue this kind of project with a partner.

The prospective partner, described Reyes, should be “very well established.” “We will focus on who would be the best partner for Atimonan,” the Meralco official added.

The power project, estimated at $2 billion, would be undertaken by Atimonan One Energy.

Meralco Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said this capital-extensive project would require a partnership with a foreign firm to spread any possible risk. “Most likely foreign firms. Japanese, Korean. Probably not Chinese,” Pangilinan said.

Meralco Senior Vice President Angelito Lantin earlier said the engineering procurement construction (EPC) tender processes has already commenced. Selection for its preferred EPC contractor would happen by middle of next year.

“Early works target to start early 2016, such as site access road and resettlement site construction. Target completion of unit 1 is late 2020,” he said. The proposed 2×600-MW Supercritical coal-fired power plant in Atimonan town, Quezon Province, is in response to these foreseen requirements, and will help address the power-supply problems, while pushing for optimal energy rates in the future and avoiding price spikes.

The project will be located on an area of about 130 hectares in Barangay Villa Ibaba, about 114 aerial km southeast of Quezon Province and about 30 aerial km east-northeast of Lucena City.

MGen recognizes the rapidly growing demand for power in the Philippines especially in Luzon, as reflected in the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Philippine Energy Plan. The DOE approximates that 500 MW of additional baseload generating capacity is needed to be online every year starting 2015 to meet the projected power demand for the country’s largest island.

The Meralco group is also keen on bringing in more major power-generation projects.

Aside from the Atimonan project, there are other power projects that MGen is involved with. These are the 455-MW plant of San Buenaventura Power Ltd. in Quezon province and the 600 MW by Redondo Peninsula Energy Inc. in Subic.

Reyes said participation in power generation is highly strategic for Meralco. “Without any generating capacity, Meralco would effectively be only a price-taker and a supply-taker.

We look forward to building a portfolio of highly fuel efficient, highly reliable power-generating facilities of up to 3,000 MW in joint venture with strategic partners,” Reyes said.