Philippines utility Meralco seeks new capacity, including renewables

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The Manila Electric Company (Meralco) has opened three procurement exercises to source 2.9 GW of generation capacity, some of it specifying a low emission requirement.

11 bidders have so far responded to a 1.2 GW capacity auction targeted at newly-built facilities which must enter operation by March 2024, according to the Manila Standard. The minimum generation capacity bidders can offer is 200 MW and the the fuel source should be “high efficiency, low emission technology”, according to the bid document. Successful projects will secure a 20-year, two-part electricity tariff from Meralco composed of fixed and variable elements.

With bidding reportedly open until September 9, the Standard reports interest has been expressed by Phinma Energy, Energy Development Corp, Quezon Power, Solar Philippines, Southwest Luzon Power, Therma Luzon, AP Renewables, Masinloc Power, San Miguel Energy, South Premiere Power and SMC Consolidated.

Crossover interest

Of those companies, Phinma, Solar Philippines, Therma Luzon, AP, South Premiere and SMC have also bid in a separate five-year, 500 MW exercise to source ‘mid merit’ – between baseload and peak generation – firm and dispatchable capacity. Commissioned facilities for that auction will have to be supplying power from December 19.

A third procurement auction concerns the 10-year supply of electricity from existing assets with a total capacity of 1.2 GW.

The auctions have between them generated 23 offers thus far, according to The Manila Times newspaper.

Renewables roll-out

Meralco in June announced a plan to itself deploy around 1 GW of renewable energy power plants over five to seven years.

“We are working on several renewable energy prospects and we recognize the significant reduction in the development cost, particularly for large scale solar and wind over the past years,” said Rogelio L Singson, CEO of the company’s renewables arm Meralco PowerGen Corporation. “Notwithstanding the ongoing requirement for new reliable baseload generation to support the fast-growing Philippine economy, we believe that the time is right to focus on building our green energy capacity and we intend to be a key player in this expanding sector.”

The Philippines has installed power generation capacity of around 20 GW with 14.3 GW of it in the Luzon area, where the largest of the country’s three grids is located. The next two largest networks are in Visayas and Mindanao.

Coal is the largest energy source, with a market share of around 42%, followed by natural gas (24%), geothermal power (13%) and hydropower (11%).