Meralco pursues plans on LNG-fired power plants
Meralco is looking at the possibility of sourcing more than half of the additional 2,700 megawatts of energy it hopes to produce from natural gas, a cleaner alternative to fossil fuels

MANILA, Philippines – The country’s largest power distributor Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) is currently assessing if some of the country’s future energy needs can be met by power plants dedicated to liquified natural gas (LNG), a cleaner-burning fuel that can power generators to create electricity.

Meralco is studying the feasibility of putting up the LNG-fired power plants in Batangas and Quezon, said company president and chief executive officer Oscar S. Reyes.

“We are hoping to probably finish these studies in the first half of next year. By then, we should have a clearer view unless we find something that needs further validation,” he said.

Meralco is studying potential plant configurations, types of storage facilities, potential markets, possible suppliers and costs.

The power company is particularly looking at what potential sources are available. Reyes said sourcing natural gas from the Malampaya could be an option. “But we will still need additional sources, as the Malampaya is a finite resource,” he added.

Reyes said their grid impact study should give them a better idea about what LNG sources and supplies are available and how they can be transmitted.

Given the global supplies of natural gas, Reyes is also looking at potential sources outside of the Philippines.

“We also continue to look for opportunities in the grids outside Luzon, and potentially
even outside the Philippines, to enhance our profitability and showcase the technical competency of our engineers, technical and customer service people,” he said.

Meralco targeting additional 2,700 MW by 2021

The study is part of an overall goal the company has to put online 2,700 megawatts of new energy.

Reyes earlier explained that the company wants to put in place an additional 2,700 megawatts by 2021, but that the target depends on demand growth and their ability to replace old plants.

He said a mix of LNG-fueled plants and coal-fired plants could supply the needed 2,700 MWs. He said more than half of the target, or 1,500 MW, could come from LNG-fired plants with the remaining 1,200 coming from coal plants. –