Meralco switches on microgrid in Quezon’s Cagbalete Island

By Lenie Lectura – July 24, 2019
from Business Mirror

THE Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) has switched on its second microgrid project that will benefit more than 800 families in Cagbalete Island, Quezon province.
A microgrid is a small-scale power system able to provide stable power supply to off-grid areas by combining distributed power sources, such as diesel generators, solar power, wind power and storage batteries. It can operate independently from the country’s mainland interconnected network of transmission and distribution lines.

For this project, the Cagbalete Microgrid, Meralco has installed a hybrid generating plant that features a 60-kilowatt peak (kWp) solar PV system, 150-kWh battery energy storage and two units of 30-kW diesel generators.

This will provide 24×7 power to about 200 households in the 1,795-hectare waterlocked island and its two barangays: Barangay Cagbalete I and Barangay Cagbalete II.

“It is our commitment to ensure that all of the remaining 600 families in Cagbalete Island plus commercial establishments and resorts will have power by the end of the year. That is Meralco’s commitment,” said Meralco President Ray C. Espinosa during the ceremonial launch held Tuesday morning.

Said to be one of the jewels of Quezon province, Cagbalete, just off the coast of Mauban, is a white-sand island paradise, teeming with a diverse ecosystem of birds, rich marine life and an abundance of unique species of plants—an allure for adventurers and nature lovers.

“We also plan to bring this outside our franchise area so we can also help the DOE [Department of Energy] and government in providing electrification to other parts of the country using the same solution.” Lenie Lectura

The utility firm, he said, is still in the process of identifying these potential areas.

Meralco chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said separately that the utility firm is also looking at providing a similar microgrid system in Palawan and Iloilo City. “There are several islands we’re looking at still,” said Pangilinan, adding that the prospects include Lio Villas Resort in Palawan and a resort in Sicogon Island, Iloilo of the Ayala group.

Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) chairperson Agnes Devanadera, who was present during the ceremonial switch-on ceremony, commended Meralco for “making themselves more relevant.”

“It is big in investment, yet small in recovery. This is one particular instance where we can see there is a growing sensitivity to respond to the growing needs of an island. Cagbalete is definitely unserved,” said Devanadera.

The utility completed the system in May.

The first hybrid generating plant of Meralco is located in Isla Verde in Batangas Province.