Power retailer Manila Electric Co. plans to apply for a grant with the U.S. Trade and Development Agency for a feasibility study on small nuclear reactors, a top executive said Thursday.
“We are applying for a grant with the USTDA to do a feasibility study for SMR. So, it’s in the process. But we’re looking into nuclear, for feasibility study only,” Meralco president Ray Espinosa said.
The USTDA links U.S. businesses to export projects by funding project preparations and creating partnerships.
The USTDA awarded a grant to RoroPower Nuclear S.A., a subsidiary of national nuclear energy producer Nuclearelectrica SA, for a front-end engineering and design study to develop Romania’s first SMR nuclear power plant in October.
The International Atomic Energy Agency defines SMRs as advanced nuclear reactors with up to 300 megawatts, or about a third of the generating capacity of traditional nuclear power reactors. SMRs are smaller in size than conventional power reactors and are easier to install.
Meralco is studying nuclear power as part of its sustainability strategy through 2050 in the wake of the government’s plan to pursue nuclear power in the energy mix.
Espinosa earlier said the diversity of fuel sources is important for both energy security and affordability.
Mealco announced in February that it was looking at spending close to P110 billion to implement its long-term sustainability strategy.
Meralco chief sustainability officer Raymond Ravelo said about P30 billion would be spent on renewable energy projects, while “about half of that [P110 billion] will be in the non-regulated space.”
The company crafted its long-term sustainability strategy as it aims to drive deep decarbonization through 2050.
Meralco said core to the strategy is the low-carbon transition plan underpinned by its commitment to source 1,500 megawatts of power requirements in the next five years from clean energy sources and to build 1,500 MW of renewable energy generation capacity by 2027 through Meralco PowerGen Corp. and Global Business Power Corp.
Meralco said it would accelerate its decarbonization efforts by potentially adopting next-generation clean technologies including SMRs, battery energy storage system and offshore wind.
The company said it would also assess more advanced technologies such as carbon capture, utilization and storage and green hydrogen as they mature economically in in line with its goal to be coal-free by 2050.
“Moving forward, we will continue investing in innovations and searching for opportunities that will help us better serve our customers, bring greater value to our shareholders, and contribute to the country’s post-pandemic recovery,” Meralco chairman Manuel Pangilinan said.