By Sheldeen Joy Talavera, Reporter

SOME listed Philippine energy companies are bent on diversifying their energy portfolio amid an expected surge in demand and a pipeline of projects.

“We are currently diversifying our power portfolio by developing several renewable energy facilities, with numerous others in the pipeline,” Antonio Miguel B. Alcantara, deputy chief executive officer at Alsons Power Group, said in a Viber message last week.

He said the company is optimistic for 2024 year with the operation of its 14.5-megawatt (MW) Siguil hydropower plant in Maasim, Sarangani province.

“We are committed to expanding our footprint and diversifying our power portfolio,” Mr. Alcantara said. “This year signifies a major milestone in our journey as we enter the Visayas market with the groundbreaking of our 95.2-megawatt baseload backup power plant in Ubay, Bohol.”

The project will serve as a dependable source of backup electricity for consumers in Bohol.

The energy company is also working on two additional renewable power facilities — the 37.8-MW Siayan hydropower project in Zamboanga del Norte and the 42-MW Bago hydropower plant in Negros Occidental.

Meanwhile, Emmanuel V. Rubio, president and chief executive officer at Aboitiz Power Corp. (AboitizPower), said the company is confident about this year despite tight market conditions.

“As electricity demand continues to grow, we will strive to generate more megawatt-hours in 2024 through higher plant availability and new capacities, especially as we expect coal prices to decline,” he said.

Power consumption is projected to increase by 6.6% this year, requiring 600-700 MW of power reserves, he said.

“This substantial increase in electricity demand underscores the pivotal role of power generation, transmission and distribution companies in meeting this need,” Mr. Rubio said.

He said the expected increase requires significant infrastructure development, including the construction of new power plants and the expansion of the power grid to ensure that electricity reaches demand centers.

AboitizPower has allotted P50 billion in capital expenditure this year, mostly for the expansion and construction of its renewable energy (RE) projects.

It targets to energize its 17-MW binary geothermal power project in Tiwi, Albay this year, as well as its 173-megawatt peak (MWp) solar power project in Calatrava, Negros Occidental.

It also expects several projects to come online this year and in 2025, including its 44-MWp solar plant in Armenia, Tarlac; the 85-MWp solar plant in San Manuel, Pangasinan; and the 206-MW wind project in San Isidro, Northern Samar in partnership with Singapore-based Vena Energy and Vivant Energy Corp.

The company has set a target net attributable capacity of 9,200 MW and 50:50 balance between RE and thermal portfolios by the end of the decade.

To date, it has renewable energy projects with a combined capacity of close to 1,000 MW that are in the pipeline.

Meanwhile, Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) said it would ensure stable and reliable electricity for its 7.8 million customers.

“We maintain a high level of power reliability because the company has been allocating a substantial amount of capital expenditures every year to ensure service quality,” Meralco spokesman and Vice-President for corporate communications Joe R. Zaldarriaga said in a Viber message. “We put up new substations and replaced facilities that needed to be upgraded.”

The distribution utility has launched its two competitive selection processes for a total of 3,000 MW. Meralco has just announced it is seeking bidders for 660-MW supply for the summer.

“There will be challenges for sure like the El Niño phenomenon, which we are closely monitoring especially during the summer months,” Mr. Zaldarriaga said.

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.