By Danessa Rivera (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 3, 2017 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines – Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) is rebooting its plans to enter the battery energy storage business this year as it continues discussions with US-based automotive and energy storage firm Tesla, a ranking company official said.
Meralco senior vice president and head of customer retail services and corporate communications Alfredo Panlilio said the company has identified some projects but has put them in the back burner since it announced its plan to go into battery energy storage.
“We’re quite delayed in that front. I think there are some projects that were identified but we haven’t started yet,” he said.
In 2015, Meralco chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan acknowledged the dawn of battery storage would disrupt the company’s distribution business, thus the need to eventually enter the battery energy storage space especially when prices of the technology go down.
This was after Tesla began the pilot program in 2012 and had tested the use of batteries in various industries such as data center, commercial retail, heavy manufacturing and education.
Last September, Tesla officials were in town to explore the possibility of investing in the country’s battery storage space and Meralco was among the local companies the US firm is eyeing to partner with.
So far, Panlilio said talks are still ongoing between Meralco and Tesla.
“There are identified projects that they will come to take a look at with our strategy group,” he said.
The possible partnership with Tesla will bode well in Meralco’s expansion into electric vehicle (EV) and solar businesses as part of disrupting its traditional power distribution business.