Meralco expands into renewable energy

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MANILA Electric Co. (Meralco), the country’s largest power distributor, is adding renewable energy (RE) into its power portfolio.

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They are now looking at other possible projects that will include renewables, said Meralco President and CEO Oscar Reyes.

“We are actively looking at other projects which include renewables, run-of-river, other hydro projects and potentially gas,” Reyes told reporters in a briefing.

The company has initiated talks with project proponents in gas, wind, solar, run-of-river and other hydro projects, Reyes noted.

Meralco Chairman Manuel Pangilinan said the company is considering solar energy, particularly rooftop installation.

“We are looking at solar. Particularly, not just utility grade solar but we will start probably with rooftops. So, for that business, we need to have a separate subsidiary and separate management,” he said.

Pangilinan said a new unit on RE projects will be created by the company before the year ends. The RE unit will primarily invest in renewables.

Alfredo S. Panlilio, Meralco senior vice president for Customer Retail Services and Corporate Communications, has said that the firm has been exploring partnerships with local and global players in solar projects.

He said that solar installations in a house or business can influence the stability and safety of the distribution grid and may place other nearby costumers at risk.

Panlilio noted that solar photovaltic installations in sync with the grid are dependent upon the quality of power delivered by the distribution utility.

Apart from RE, Reyes said Meralco is seriously considering venturing into gas. “We’ve considered gas before for Atimonan (power plant) and we continue to look at gas.”
Reyes said this would eventually be a part of Meralco’s portfolio.

“These are the things that we are looking at because we do not want to be a one-fuel generator, we would like to spread the risks into different types of plants,” he said.

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  1. solar energy projects on building rooftops is a better alternative than land-based solar energy projects. land-based solar energy projects require vast land area to construct and destroy the environment (trees, bushes and vegetation) that serves as habitat to wildlife and barrier to rainfall to prevent flash floods. big business promoting big solar energy projects in the magnitude of 100 MW (and up to 150 MW) concentrated in one location will destroy at least 150 hectares of this environment. big businesses are not mindful of the deprivation that the projects will cause to the land for use in agriculture and/or as haven for wildlife on pretense that the project reduces CO2 emissions, yet will reduce the absorption capability of the environment of CO2 emission (by plants and vegetation)!