SMC to spend US$1.0-B for battery storage projects

Published April 22, 2021, 8:00 AM

by Myrna M. Velasco

The power generation arm of San Miguel Corporation will cough up US$1.0 billion worth of investments for 31 new battery energy storage (BES) projects that it will be deploying in various sites nationwide.

The company, in a statement to the media, has emphasized that the BES facilities will have equivalent generation or rated capacity of 1,000 megawatts.

Four of 31 Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) facilities being put up by San Miguel Corporation’s power arm, SMC Global Power Holdings Corp., located in Masinloc Zambales; Malita, Davao; Maco, Davao de Oro, and Jasaan, Misamis Oriental. The BESS facilities are currently undergoing testing and commissioning. These facilities will have a combined rated capacity of over 1,000 megawatts and will stabilize and improve power quality for users nationwide. These will also pave the way for more viable use of renewable power by addressing the issue of intermittence.

SMC has not given all the timeframes yet on the implementations of the 31 BES projects; but it specified that there are now four projects being advanced to completion by its subsidiary SMC Global Power Holdings Corporation; and these are sited in Masinloc, Zambales; Malita, Davao; Maco, Davao de Oro; and Jasaan, Misamis Oriental.

Essentially, there would be additional 27 BES project-rollouts to serve as follow-through ventures to the initial BES installations of the conglomerate.

San Miguel noted that BES technology is “capable of improving power quality throughout the grid system,” and it can also “facilitate integration of renewable power sources into the country’s generation portfolio.”

SMC President Ramon S. Ang

SMC President Ramon S. Ang said “our ongoing investment into battery energy storage facilities will greatly benefit power consumers all over the country, because this will mean that even faraway provinces or areas can have the same stable and good quality power supply as everywhere else.”

Reliability problem in the country’s power system, including technical glitch like frequency excursions, have long been a concern for industry stakeholders – and the deployment of battery storage systems is seen a solution to that predicament.

And on the government’s target of massive-scale RE integration into the power system, SMC contended that BES investments would be “a major step towards making intermittent renewable energy more viable in the country.”

With BES ventures, Ang further asserted that “provinces and islands will have better and more equal opportunities for industrialization and economic growth.”

He qualified that “if previously, some areas could not attract investments because of unstable or poor power supply, battery energy storage will make power supply more stable and reliable,” with him adding that “battery storage will significantly reduce imbalances in the grid that cause power interruptions and brownouts.”

As explained, BES technology “will boost flexibility of the country’s power grid and improve power quality by removing excess power and injecting required power at strategic areas within the grid within millisecond level.”

Ang thus reiterated that “this can support equal-opportunity industrialization in many provinces where historically, no industrial plants would locate because of poor power quality.”

The SMC chief executive indicated though that the main concern needing to be addressed immediately is power quality – and for system operator National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, battery energy storage is a technology it can lean on for regulating reserve for its ancillary services requirements.

And on broader scale, Ang stressed that the country’s predicament with RE’s on-and-off generation “can be mitigated” and it can make renewables thrive in the marketplace.

Given that premise, the SMC top executive emphasized that the propounded transition of the country to more renewables could also be viably underpinned.