Meralco chief, renewable energy group push for higher cap on contracted green energy

Bruce Rodriguez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 10 2021 08:52 PM

Two boys play beside their house located in a cornfield near the windmills in Pililla, Rizal.
Two boys play beside their house located in a cornfield near the windmills in Pililla, Rizal. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

MANILA – Some of the Philippines' biggest power industry stakeholders on Tuesday called for a higher government quota on contracted renewable energy to further boost investments into sustainable sources of electricity.

During a virtual membership meeting of the Management Association of the Philippines on Tuesday, Meralco president and CEO Ray Espinosa said while the private sector has the capital to make investments in renewable energy, they still need clearer guidance from the government.

"Today, there is good law and regulation that impose the RPS (renewable portfolio standards) on institutions but it's at a measly one percent," Espinosa explained. 

"There had been talks about increasing that one percent to 2.5 percent which would have been great, good already but we could actually make it even higher."

The RPS is a government or regulatory mandate to increase production of energy from renewable sources like wind, solar, biomass, and other alternatives to traditional fuel.

Espinosa said, "today we're saying, from a Meralco standpoint, with a one percent RPS requirement we will transform our entire mid-merit requirements to renewables."

This is roughly 29 percent of what Meralco, the country's biggest power distributor, contracts.

"We want to make a higher commitment but we are capped with the one percent. We don't want a situation where renewables have to, for instance, fight it out with other fuels and then bring down chaos in the competitive selection process. Renewables should be given their space to compete," Espinosa said.

That's why Atty. Jose Layug of Developers of Renewable Energy for AdvanceMent (DREAM) said, "I fully agree that we should increase the RPS target."

While he revealed, he was among those who pushed for the one percent cap before, he said, RE costs now are paving the way for a bigger share for sustainable sources of energy.

"If Meralco wants to do wind, let them do wind, anyway we can cap the price. If Meralco wants to do solar, let them do solar. Even for geothermal, we all now geothermal is not as cheap as the other RE but geothermal can always compete with the baseload price," Layug said.

 

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