Meralco generation arm eyes hike in renewable energy capacity

By Richmond Mercurio | The Philippine Star
September 18, 2023

MANILA, Philippines — Meralco PowerGen Corp. (MGen), the power generation arm of the Manila Electric Co., is stepping on the gas pedal to support the country’s sustainable energy transition as the company looks at potentially raising its renewable energy capacity target by the end of the decade.

“For Meralco and Global Business Power Corp. (GBP), we’re targeting an initial 1,500 megawatts (MW), but I think we’re already seeing that’s probably a bit too low,” MGen executive vice president and expanding markets division head Dan Neil said.

“I think we’ll be looking at three to five gigawatts (GW) over the period of 2030 so we’re really pushing for that transition to renewable energy,” he said.

MGen, through renewable energy unit MGen Renewable Energy Inc. (MGreen), has initially set its sights on reaching 1,500 MW of renewable energy capacity by 2030.

The company earlier committed to invest at least P18 billion to put up over two GW of gross renewable energy capacity from solar and wind, which the company will build through 2030, along with its various partners.

“Going forward, MVP (Manuel V. Pangilinan) already mentioned that Meralco-GBP is involved in what potentially is going to be one of the biggest solar projects in the world. A total of 3,000 MW of solar capacity and up to 4,000 MW of battery, which is a huge undertaking,” Neil said.

Pangilinan, chairman and CEO of Meralco, earlier said the company is targeting to put up one of the country’s largest solar farms as part of its ongoing efforts to ramp up its renewable energy capacity.

“We’re doing a lot of work on that and potentially within two to three years we’ll be delivering that as megawatts into the grid,” Neil said.

“On top of that, we also got a number of projects, which I hope within a couple of months we’ll be announcing the deals concluded and we can start construction within the next year. Those will be a thousand megawatts, not just solar, but also different wind projects around the Philippines. So again, a big step change in terms of moving away from the thermal and into renewables,” he said.

MGreen’s two solar projects under development were also among the winning bidders in the second round of the green energy auction conducted by the Department of Energy.

The winning bids are for the development of 49-MWac solar power plant in Cordon, Isabela and an 18.75M-Wac solar power plant in Bongabon, Nueva Ecjia.

Neil said expansion in both renewable energy and baseload capacity is a way forward for MGen’s vision toward a balanced energy mix.