First Gen mulls gas plants’ conversion to hydrogen

Published May 23, 2022, 3:39 PM

by Myrna M. Velasco

First Gen Corporation are studying to convert its gas plants eventually into hydrogen-equipped facilities, as part of the Lopez group’s long term decarbonization strategies.

“To meet net zero carbon future, our gas plants will eventually need to be repowered, possibly with clean hydrogen – as technology develops and attain commerciality,” emphasized First Gen Chairman and CEO Federico R. Lopez,

The gas-fired power fleet of First Gen include the 1,000-megawatt Santa Rita; 500MW San Lorenzo; 414MW San Gabriel and the 97MW Avion plants that have been feeding their generated electricity into Luzon grid.

Hydrogen is widely touted as a cleaner energy option compared to natural gas, hence, that is now the technology deployment shift being considered seriously by many power producers that currently have gas-fired power assets.

On top of the gas plants’ technology conversion, Lopez indicated that First Gen will also embrace energy efficiency as added strategy to significantly pare the conglomerate’s carbon footprints.

“We are pursuing energy efficiency schemes as well as taking stock of other technologies that will further advance our net zero goal,” the First Gen chief executive said.

Those are on top of the massive investments the Lopez group has already been pursuing in the renewable energy sector – covering multiplicity of technologies on solar, wind, hydro and geothermal installations.

In the updated Philippine Energy plan, Lopez specified that natural gas will still serve as “an enabler of intermittent renewable energy like wind and solar, which will help keep the lights on when these sources are not available.”

He added “we see LNG (liquefied natural gas) as the bridge fuel that will make wind and solar power more reliable, increasing demand and hastening widespread adoption of these platforms on to our power systems.”

Lopez cited Firs Gen’s forward plan to “significantly expand its wind and solar portfolio over the coming years,” and that shall cover not just on-grid installations, but also project rollouts in off-grid communities.

On the mid-century net zero goal of the conglomerate, Lopez opined “beyond just halting any additional warming is the Herculean task of preserving, rebuilding, and more importantly regenerating the planet and everything we’re losing. This is why we believe sustainability is no longer enough in a world that’s badly in need of healing and renewal.”

He thus explained that the Lopez group “chose to use the word ‘regenerative’ in our recrafted mission, with all the responsibility that it carries.”

The First Gen executive nevertheless acknowledged that “this is tough time to be in business. I would even say, the toughest I can remember in the last four to six decades.”

He stressed that “the road will be filled with curve balls. But life isn’t just about the presence or absence of difficulties, it’s all about how we deal with those inevitabilities that matters.”

 
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