Meralco ties up with asset manager to target Filipino hydro

The utility is making its debut into the renewables sector with solar and wind also in its sights.

Manila Electric, a Filipino utility locally known as Meralco, has set up a joint venture with Blue Energy Holdings and Management to invest in hydropower projects in the Philippines, according to a filing with the Philippine Stock Exchange. 

Meralco, the largest electricity distributor in the Philippines, said it owns a 50 percent minus one share in the JV. 

The utility has been looking to invest in renewables since last year in a bid to diversify its power generation portfolio. It is preparing to launch a unit named MSpectrum that will develop solar power projects in the country. 

MSpectrum will aim to build a portfolio of solar rooftop and utility-scale solar projects with at least 100MW of capacity over the next three years. Other types of renewable energy projects will be undertaken by Meralco itself, under its PowerGen Corporation subsidiary. 

Blue Energy is headed by Christopher John Tiu, who is also in the management team of Filipino investment firm Pure Energy Holdings. Repower Energy Development, the renewables arm of Pure Energy and parent of Blue Energy, agreed in January to form a JV with Meralco to develop hydro power plants in the country. 

Blue Energy recently invested in a consortium led by CnGESi, a Filipino renewable energy developer, to build a small hydro project in Camarines Sur, according to Pure Energy’s website. 

Repower Energy also acquired three operating small-scale hydro plants for PHP300 million ($6 million; €5.62 million) last December, and said it was developing over 50MW of mini-hydro projects across the Quezon, Bukidnon and Camarines Sur provinces.