Meralco to invest P180 B for sustainability projects

Published October 25, 2021, 5:36 PM

by Myrna M. Velasco

Power utility giant Manila Electric Company (Meralco) will inject massive investments of P180 billion for ‘clean energy projects’ that will become the anchor to its long-term sustainability agenda and ‘net zero’ goals.

Meralco President and CEO Ray C. Espinosa disclosed in a briefing with reporters that “we do have a plan and there’s a huge capex (capital expenditures) that will be involved if we are to implement that plan all the way to 2050. Roughly, if we were to implement these plans we put up together, around P180 billion. That’s moving to cleaner energy.”

He emphasized that the power firm already cast its first 10-year plan toward its sustainability investment paradigm. The next phases will be implemented in the second and third decades.

Espinosa further conveyed that on Meralco’s long-term sustainability and project development framework, “we have a strategy to an orderly and affordable transition to cleaner energy.”

The core of that ‘sustainability investment’ blueprint, he noted, will be renewable energy installations as well as the coupling of these resources with commercially viable battery energy storage systems.

“We scoped what we need to do for the next decade from we are today; and what we have to do in the second decade and the third decade — that includes basically ramping up our investments in renewable power generation projects definitely, and procuring more renewable energy sources for our supply,” the Meralco chief executive specified.

Espinosa indicated that on the utility firm’s supply sourcing, “our plan is basically to take an all-renewable power supply for our mid-merit requirement,” with him specifying that “our mid-merit requirement accounts for about 29-percent of our total captives, so our plan is to go full renewable with the mid-merit.”

As technically designed, mid-merit power is often supplied by flexible generating facilities, because that is the component of the utility firm’s supply procurement that could easily adjust its power output or capacity when demand for electricity fluctuates throughout the day.

Espinosa explained that the planned sustainability investment “is a huge commitment on the part of Meralco,” with him adding that “we are also exploring ways in looking at new technologies that would allow for the use of renewable energy sources to deliver baseload requirement” or the power facility that can supply electricity round-the-clock.

“So that really depends on the technology that will become available and the mix of renewables that you can put together alongside new technologies, such as the battery storage system,” he stressed.

Meralco Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan echoed the power firm’s investment journey toward clean energy installations, but the aspect that must be clarified, he said is: “Who will bear the cost?”

Pangilinan added “Someone has to pay for it. Environmentalists want the energy transition to happen fast – basically that’s impossible, and financially – who will pay? And that’s the conundrum which has been asked of us as Filipinos – which is more expensive – no power or expensive power, which do you prefer?”

“As we do our share to keep our people and customers safe, we are also moving towards our goal of a more sustainable Meralco – one that protects the environment and powers good lives for all today and for future generations.”