Meralco seeks funding for $1B Subic plant
MANILA, Philippines–Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) is set to seek financing for the long-delayed 600-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant in Subic that is up for development following the Supreme Court decision denying an environmental case against the project.
Meralco president Oscar S. Reyes said in an interview on the sidelines of the Energy Regulation Forum in Makati that the Redondo Peninsula Energy Inc. (RP Energy) consortium would soon start activities it had previously been constrained to do.
This included talking to potential financiers and contractors for the project, which will likely cost “north of $1 billion.”
“We are still keen on the project. We already spent P1 billion ($2.27 million) for pre-development work,” Reyes said. Meralco has so far completed site clearing works and other pre-development activities, which it could complete pending the final decision on the case.
Earlier, energy stakeholders cheered the SC decision.
RP Energy president Angelito U. Lantin said the decision came at an “opportune time” considering the short supply of electricity to the Luzon grid.
Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla took a wider view, saying the decision not only paved the way for the power project but also prevented placing economic zone investments “in limbo.”
On Tuesday, SC spokesman Theodore Te said the high tribunal dismissed the “writ of kalikasan” case against RP Energy’s 600-MW coal plant project at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone and upheld the project’s environmental compliance certificate (including its first and second amendments) as well as the lease and development agreement with the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA).
The decision enables RP Energy to proceed with the construction and development of the power plant.
RP Energy is a consortium composed of Meralco PowerGen Corp., Aboitiz Power Corp. and Taiwan Cogeneration.
There is an urgent need for new power capacity given the anticipated supply tightness in Luzon this year.
The appeals court, in its Jan. 30, 2013, ruling, invalidated the ECC (which was dated Dec. 22, 2008) due to the absence of some “vital” details. In May 2013, the Court of Appeals affirmed its earlier decision stopping the 600-megawatt coal-fired power plant project of RP Energy. The appeals court denied the motion for reconsideration filed by SBMA, RP Energy and Environment Secretary Ramon Paje on the court’s Jan. 30 ruling.
At the same time, the court dismissed the motion for reconsideration on the denial of the environmental case (writ of kalikasan) filed by petitioners Teddy Casiño, Raymond Palatino, Rafael Mariano, Emerenciana de Jesus and militant organizations.
Both the motions for reconsideration filed by the petitioners and respondents were mere reiteration of their positions, which were already passed upon by the court in its Jan. 30, 2013 ruling, the appeals court said.
The writ of kalikasan case was filed before the Supreme Court on July 20, 2012, by Kabataan party-list and Olongapo City-based environmental group No-to-Coal.
Respondents included RP Energy, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and SBMA. The case was later remanded to the Court of Appeals, which held hearings from Nov. 5 to Dec. 14, 2012.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.