Meralco considering nuclear en route to zero coal by 2050

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THE Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) said it is considering nuclear energy as well as renewable energy in order to go completely coal-free by 2050.

In a webinar Thursday, Meralco President and Chief Executive Officer Ray C. Espinosa said: “The approach to clean energy cannot simply be based on renewable energy (RE); we must also focus on coming up with the fossil-free dependable baseload energy that we can rely on dependably 24/7 to complement renewable energy.”

“We in Meralco believe that nuclear energy in its latest technology is the way to go.”

Mr. Espinosa said Meralco is committing to obtain 1,500 megawatts (MW) of renewables over the next five years to bring RE to a 29% share of its total supply mix.

He added that the company has secured at least 400 MW of solar supply for its retail customers for 2022 to 2026.

Mr. Espinosa called RE intermittent, adding that storage technology for saving up what is generated in odd hours is currently so expensive that it threatens to raise power costs.

“We have to balance our move to clean energy and the economic needs of our people and country,” he said.

“In order to address this dependable energy issue as we move to clean energy, we are now seriously looking at nuclear energy as providing that dependable baseload capacity.”

Between 2031 and 2040, Mr. Espinosa said Meralco seeks to adopt other clean energy technologies such as battery storage and nuclear energy “using small modular reactors.”

By 2041-2050, Meralco will initiate a deep decarbonization process with a goal of achieving net zero emissions.

Meralco services Metro Manila and adjacent provinces, which are home to 30% of the country’s total population and account for almost half of Philippine GDP and 55% of national energy sales.

Meralco shares rose 0.4% or P1.20 to P298.80 Thursday.

Meralco’s controlling stakeholder, Beacon Electric Asset Holdings, Inc. is partly owned by PLDT, Inc.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc. has an interest in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Bianca Angelica D. Anago

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