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Meralco expects 13 renewable energy suppliers

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MANILA, Philippines - Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) has identified several potential renewable energy sources that could supply its franchise area.

Lawrence S. Fernandez, Meralco utility economics head, said investors have proposed 13 renewable energy projects in the company's service area.

"In our franchise area, which is just three percent of the land area of the Philippines, we have monitored potential projects of about 140 megawatts of capacity," he said.

These projects include one waste-to-energy, six biomass, three wind and three solar plants.

The proposed projects have a total capacity of 144.54 megawatts broken down into 25.45 megawatts for biomass, 59.01 megawatts for wind and 60.08 megawatts for solar.

Fernandez said the company monitors the development of renewable energy projects within its franchise area as these are expected to connect directly to the utility without having to go through the power grid.

Power plants directly connected to Meralco's network are spared transmission costs, a line item in consumers' electricity bills that is paid to the grid operator.

Under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 or Republic Act 9513, distribution utilities "are compelled to expand, upgrade, or reinforce their distribution systems to connect embedded renewable energy plants."   

Three renewable energy plants already operate in Meralco's service area, namely the 8.19-megawatt biomass plant of Montalban Methane Power Corp. in Rizal, the 4.2-megawatt biomass plant of Bacavalley Energy Inc. in Laguna and Philippine Power Development Corp.'s 1.1-megawatt mini-hydro plant in Laguna.

Meralco also recently signed an interconnection agreement with Alternergy Wind One Corp. for the latter's proposed 90-megawatt wind farm in Rizal.