Meralco plans to build power generation plants in MindanaoBy Doris C. Dumlao
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Manila Electric Co. plans to break into the Mindanao power generation industry via selective projects fueled by either coal or natural gas, aiming to build a southern Philippine portfolio with capacity of between 135 and 300 megawatts.
Meralco forms part of the group of businessman Manuel Pangilinan, which has shown growing interest in doing business in the South, especially after the signing of the Bangsamoro peace accord.
In a recent chance interview, Meralco president Oscar Reyes said the group’s concentration would still be in Luzon but admitted that the company was also looking for greenfield or built-from-scratch projects in Mindanao.
“Our preference is greenfield but that’s without prejudice to doing brownfield in Mindanao,” Reyes said.
Under Meralco’s franchise, he said the group could generate power equivalent to 30 percent of the capacity of its own grid and 25 percent of the total national grid. This means it can build and/or acquire a power generation capacity of up to 3,000 MW, Reyes said.
Through its power generation unit, Meralco PowerGen Corp., the group had announced plans to build power facilities that could generate 2,700 MW in additional capacity in Luzon within a period of five years.
For Mindanao or even Visayas, Reyes said any forthcoming project would be selective.
“The capacity we’re building there is smaller. Some are focused on serving certain industries like mining—power generation projects for new greenfield mining,” Reyes said.
“We are bringing our track record and resources there so we can help create value in other areas of the country,” he said.
In Luzon, it was earlier reported that Meralco’s strategic intent would be to build “new, highly fuel-efficient, environmentally sound and reliable” combined cycle base load and mid-merit power plants.
The first 600-MW coal facility is now being put up at the Subic Bay Freeport in partnership with Aboitiz Power Corp. and Taiwan Cogeneration, through a company called Redondo Peninsula Energy (RP Energy). This marks Meralco’s re-entry to the power-generation business. An initial 300-MW capacity is targeted to be on stream by the first half of 2016.