Meralco, Metrobank unit forge power venture deal

Firms to pursue generation projects in Mindanao

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Meralco PowerGen Corp. and Global Business Power Corp. of the Metrobank Group are set to jointly pursue and evaluate potential power-generation projects in Mindanao.

In a statement, Meralco PowerGen said the two firms expect to soon sign a memorandum of understanding to effect the partnership. This will be Meralco PowerGen’s first foray into power generation in Mindanao.

“Meralco PowerGen continues to explore opportunities with the goal of putting up power plants to help address the need for a reliable, sustainable and competitively-priced supply of power,” it said.

Oscar S. Reyes, president of Meralco PowerGen parent firm Manila Electric Co., meanwhile, said in a briefing that the agreement to be signed would cover four of the proposed projects of Global Power in Mindanao.

These facilities will mainly use coal.

Reyes said the partnership would be “more or less” 50-50, under which Global Power will develop the power projects while Meralco PowerGen “will have the opportunity, if we so wish, to invest with them.”

“Meralco is trying to help address the requirement for adequate reliable power so if we can help in meeting the needs with fuel-efficient new technology plants with credible partners, we can contribute our own expertise, resources,” Reyes said.

Meralco, through its power generation arm Meralco PowerGen, is building power facilities that can generate 2,700 MW of additional capacity for the Luzon grid in five years.

Reyes earlier disclosed that this proposed portfolio would consist of two 600-MW coal-fired power plants that are expected to cost roughly $2.6 billion and combined and liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities that can generate a total of 1,500 MW.

Reyes declined to cite specific investment requirements for the LNG facilities, which may be put in Batangas and/or Quezon, depending on the outcome of feasibility studies. The cost of the LNG power plant itself will be lower than the coal plant, he added.

“Our strategic intent is to build new, highly fuel-efficient, environmentally sound and reliable combined cycle base load and mid-merit power plants of up to 2,700 MW over the next five years, mindful of the Department of Energy supply and demand outlook as well as the company’s load growth target areas to spur national development,” Reyes had said.

“We likewise continue to look for opportunities in the grids outside Luzon and potentially even outside the Philippines, to enhance our profitability and showcase the technical competency of our engineers, technical and customer service people,” he added.

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