Meralco PowerGen mulls foreign partners for wind projects

Published May 1, 2022, 8:00 PM

by Myrna M. Velasco

Meralco PowerGen Corporation, a power generation subsidiary of Manila Electric Company (Meralco), will be tapping foreign partners for targeted investments in offshore wind farm installations.

“We are very interested in offshore wind. These are huge investments, there are huge tracts of offshore that is available in the Philippines, so we are seriously looking at it. Most likely, we’ll be tapping foreign investors,” Meralco PowerGen President and CEO Jaime T. Azurin noted.

He, however, indicated that the company has yet to firm up investment plan for this technology deployment, including its application for warranted service contracts with the Department of Energy.

“First and foremost, we still have to do wind mast which will take one to two years; and then (we) decide investment,” Azurin pointed out.

Filipino companies are still not well-experienced at developing offshore wind farm projects, hence, they will be needing technically-equipped foreign partners, that relatively, also have deeper pockets.

Offshore wind farms are typically sited at open shallow water, primarily in the oceans, where there are higher wind speeds – and the maximum potential of the Philippines for this renewable energy (RE) installations had been placed at humongous 179,000 megawatts.

Meralco PowerGen and its amalgamated affiliate Global Business Power Corporation (GBP) are now re-focusing investments in the RE space, in line with the State-sanctioned ‘energy transition agenda’ as cast in the updated Philippine Energy Plan.

The medium-term plan of the Meralco group will to be bring to commercial fruition at least 1,500 megawatts of RE projects – and these shall comprise of solar, wind (onshore and offshore installations) as well as battery energy storage systems.

The initial RE plant of the Meralco group that is now supplying generated electricity to its load network is the 50MW BulacanSol project which reached commercial operation last year.

From that kick-off clean energy venture, Azurin stated that “the power generation group continues to ramp up its investments in the renewable sector with a target of 1,500MW in the next seven years.”

Meralco PowerGen is currently advancing the construction of at least three solar projects – the 75MWac solar farm venture in Baras, Rizal; the 68MWac plant in Ilocos Norte; and the 45MWac solar project in Cordon, Isabela.

“These are about 190 megawatts – in addition to our existing BulacanSol, which is already operating since May 2021. After the first quarter of next year, we would have ramped up to about 240MW of renewable projects online,” he stressed.

Onward, Azurin emphasized that “there are still a lot more on the construction of other large-scale wind farms as well as other storage energy projects in the coming years.”