POWER distribution giant Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) has partnered with Repower Energy Development Corp. (REDC) for the development of mini hydropower plants across the country.
The initiative marks Meralco’s first foray into mini-hydropower development, a renewable energy source.
The two companies signed a joint venture agreement to build and develop mini-hydropower plants using run-of-river resources for renewable and efficient energy production with minimal environmental impact.
REDC has over 100 megawatts (MW) of mini-hydropower projects clustered in Quezon, Camarines Sur, Bukidnon, and other provinces under development, representing a total investment of $400 million.
REDC early this month broke ground on its Rangas mini hydropower project located in CamSur.
Its next ground-breaking is for the Upper Labayat project located in Quezon which is scheduled for the first quarter of 2016.
REDC, thru its subsidiary Philpodeco, has three operating mini hydropower plants all located in Laguna. The operating plants sell the power output to Meralco.
Dexter Tiu, REDC chief executive, welcomed the company’s partnership with Meralco.
“Our wide experience in working with sustainable energy sources has allowed us to maximize its potential through our long-term approach of using best of breed international technologies combined with local excellence in deployments,” said Tiu.
The REDC-Meralco joint venture for mini-hydropower projects will avail of the feed-in-tariff (FIT) scheme mandated by the Renewable Energy Act of 2008. The FIT rate is guaranteed by the government for 20 years at P5.9 per kilowatt hour.
“The joint venture will lead to a series of project ground-breaking of mini hydropower plants starting from the first half of 2016 in select regions, following REDC’s vision for its clustered development strategy,” the company said.
Meanwhile, Meralco is creating a separate unit for its renewable energy (RE) foray.
Meralco president Oscar Reyes said the creation of the RE unit called MSpectrum is already in the development stage.
“We’re putting up a separate unit. We want to be also in renewables,” Reyes said.
Reyes said the new unit will also explore solar power projects.
“We can look at solar and wind, but its focus will initially be solar. Wind will remain with Meralco PowerGen because it’s big-scale,” he said.
Reyes said they are targeting to install at least 100 megawatts (MW) of solar power within three years.