By Myrna M. Velasco
Manila Bulletin

The power generation investment arm of Manila Electric Company (Meralco) has resumed development works and construction activities at its project-sites in Atimonan, Quezon and San Miguel, Bulacan as lockdown restrictions had already been relaxed in most parts of the country.

For its Powersource First Bulacan Solar Inc. venture, in particular, Meralco PowerGen Corporation (MGen) indicated that construction works already re-commenced after it was stalled for more than two months following the enforcement of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon last March.

The company is advancing the installation of a 50-megawatt ac solar farm at its site in San Miguel; the output of which will be fed into the load network of Meralco.

Relative to the company’s work resumption, MGen stated it has been strictly adhering to the guidelines

on construction issued by relevant government agencies – including compliance to Covid-testing as well as the setting up of isolation facility in case it will have employees that would need to undergo quarantine.

The Atimonan project is for its targeted 1,200MW greenfield base load power capacity that will utilize what is envisaged as the country’s first ultra super critical (USC) boiler technology on coal-fired power development.

Via its project vehicle Atimonan One Energy Inc. (A1E), the company said site development activities re-started on June 4, albeit it is being carried out gradually from the outset and will be on full remobilization in the coming weeks.

MGen noted that while Quezon province had already been mollified to a general community quarantine (GCQ) status since May 15, “A1E and its contractors closely coordinated with the Atimonan local government unit in preparation for remobilization activities.”

The Atimonan project has long been planned to take off from MGen’s blueprint – but since there are industry rules that it has to adhere to, including a competitive selection process (CSP) on its prospective capacity off-take, its implementation had been stalled for some time.

On site development activities, MGen emphasized that “health and safety plan and other documentary requirements were submitted to the LGU in compliance with the guidelines issued by relevant government agencies.”

It qualified that “even before the pandemic, A1E has been strictly implementing health and safety protocols at the site, including use of appropriate personal protective equipment or PPE.”

MGen added as part of the requirements of its host-LGU, “all workers who did not stay in Atimonan during the ECQ have to undergo a Covid-19 test and to submit a health clearance before returning to work,” while its isolation facility had already been inspected by the Atimonan LGU.

“A1E remains one with the Atimonan LGU in ensuring that the municipality remains Covid-free and ready to fight the pandemic,” the company stressed.