By Myrna M. Velasco
From a targeted 1,000-megawatt portfolio of renewable energy in the medium term, the power generation investment arm of utility giant Manila Electric Company (Meralco) indicated that it is now at the process of firming up 350MW of RE capacity installations.
“In terms of the commitment of the group to expand our renewable energy projects, we’re lining up in the immediate future which is as early as 2021, 350MW of RE projects that we are almost near conclusion,” Meralco PowerGen (MGen) President Rogelio L. Singson said.
Nevertheless, he apprised reporters that he cannot name the targeted partners yet because “we are covered by NDAs (non-disclosure agreements). So we can’t disclose until we sign the agreements with them.”
To bring the RE projects to commercial fruition in 2021, Singson specified that agreements with partners and final investment decisions (FID) must be concluded within the year.
Singson just hinted that these targeted capacity build-up will be more on solar installations; as well as microgrid ventures – the second investment path is considerably a follow-through to its parent firm’s microgrid developments in Isla Verde in Batangas last year and recently that of the Cagbalete island in Quezon province.
Meralco has been casting on blueprint diversified projects in the RE sector –namely solar, wind (both onshore and offshore targets), hydro, biomass and microgrid ventures.
On the parent firm’s end, company executives noted that it will be needing 500 to 600 megawatts of RE capacity in its supply portfolio to comply with the requirements under the Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS), or that Department of Energy-issued policy requiring distribution utilities to source certain percentage of their supply from RE generated capacity.
As assessed, the actual need of the system for RE capacity additions will kick off in year 2021, hence, project decisions and developments are seen advancing between this year to 2020 – at least for solar farm installations.
Nevertheless, Singson qualified that these expected incursion of more RE in the grid must be suitably underpinned by reinforcements in the country’s transmission system – and it should conform with system build-up that will be aligned with the integration of more variable renewable energy (VRE) capacities.
In other countries, he noted that transmission networks had been bolstered up with ultra-high voltage (UHV) lines with carrying capacity of about 1,000 megawatts – including China which has plunged into massive RE developments in recent years.