Power generator mulls clean energy projects in Iloilo

Meralco Gen and Global Business Power President and CEO Jaime T. Azurin (left) and MGen-GBP First Vice President Antonio Cabalhug Jr. discuss plans for Iloilo during a gathering with the Iloilo media on Wednesday. (Joseph B.A. Marzan)

By Joseph B.A. Marzan and Francis Allan Angelo

One of the country’s biggest power generation companies is looking to bring clean energy solutions to Iloilo.

In a press event on Wednesday, MGen-Global Business Power (MGen-GBP) President and Chief Executive Officer Jaime Azurin announced that they have “started their journey into the renewable energy sector.”

Azurin cited the 50-megawatt BulacanSol solar farm in San Miguel, Bulacan and two other projects which will be completed in 2023 – the 75-megawatt AC solar project in Baras, Rizal, and 68-megawatt solar farm in Currimao, Ilocos Norte.

He added that they are expected to announce a major joint venture of more than 500 megawatts of solar and wind power in the first quarter of next year.

“Our target is about 1,500 megawatts in the next 700 years, we are at 200 so that means we’re still far. That means in the next few months, citing 2023, you’ll be hearing more about the MGen-GBP group and our expansion in the renewables sector which will include not only solar, [but also] wind and [hydroelectric power],” Azurin said.

Bringing renewable energy projects to Visayas is the next phase of their plans with announcements to be made in mid-2023.

“All our [renewable energy] projects right now are in Luzon because of Meralco, and our plan is to bring it to the Visayas. We would like to spread the renewable commitment of 1,500 [megawatts] to the Visayas,” he said.

Azurin said their main concern is to look for land that can host solar power facilities, particularly in Panay and Cebu.

He said Iloilo was ripe for hydroelectric and solar, citing the Jalaur River Multipurpose Project in the town of Calinog.

“We’re looking at, honestly, Iloilo and Cebu to be able to expand our reach and provide clean energy to our consumers in the Visayas sector. We hope that we’ll be able to meet those objectives,” he stated.

“It’s difficult to find land [in Iloilo province]. It’s being used for farming, and some is now being used for industrial [like] warehouses. To be honest, we haven’t really found a site here [in Iloilo], but we believe that Panay Island should have its own renewable [energy] technology available here,” he added.

Azurin said that they are expecting to supply the demand of Panay Island for renewable energy, citing the Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS).

The Department of Energy defines the RPS as a market-based policy that requires the Mandated Participant to source a portion of their energy supply from Eligible Renewable Energy Facilities.

Azurin also introduced the new MGen-GBP First Vice President and Panay site head, Atty. Antonio Cabalhug Jr., who has been in the power sector for more than 30 years and has worked with the company in its Cebu and Sarangani operations.

GBP was bought by Meralco Powergen Corporation (MGen) in March 2021, with full integration completed in September last year.

The acquisition allowed GBP to have access to MGen’s plants including San Buenaventura in Mauban, Quezon, the BulacanSol plant, and a gas plant in Singapore.