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The SMGP Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) site in Limay, Bataan, Philippines. (Photo from SMGP)

Batteries

Largest Battery Energy Storage Facility Up In Northern Philippines

The historic province of Bataan, 127 kilometers (78 miles) from the capital city Manila, hosts the Philippines’ first and largest Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) owned and operated by San Miguel Corporation’s (SMC) Global Power Holdings Corp. (SMGP).

The Philippines is now set to become one of the world’s leaders in the BESS with this total 1000 megawatt (MW) power facility, according to officials of SMGP.

Sourcing much-needed power from renewable energy such as solar and offshore wind, as well as other safer and greener energy sources form part of the Philippine government’s plans to improve power quality. It aligns with the country’s clean energy transition program, as well as SMC and SMGP’s aggressive medium-term goal for power system decarbonization and resilience.

Marcos Jr. led the inauguration last April 4 in Limay, Bataan, where SMC initially built its BESS facilities. It is part of the total 32 battery storage stations with a total of 1000 MW of power, now being constructed by SMGP all over the archipelago. This Limay facility is the first and largest such network in the country, and among the largest integrated battery storage networks in the world.

“Our BESS facilities will support the country’s power grid by storing excess power from existing plants, and injecting this power back, when and where it is needed, within milliseconds — ensuring power quality is stable, and reaches users all over the country,” SMC President and CEO Ramon S. Ang said as he explained to the local energy media how battery energy storage is an important global innovation in the energy sector, “one that will enable stable and reliable power to reach even far-off areas.”

The SMGCP BESS network can enable the integration of capacity from small-to-medium-scale (SMS) renewable energy sources into the grid, and help encourage more investments in renewables in the future.

In 2018, SMC pioneered battery storage technology in the Philippines from both renewable and fossil-fueled power sources, with the acquisition and modification of what is now SMC’s Masinloc power facility.

The Philippines is dotted with active geothermal sources, shorelines, and mountainous areas as well as flatlands, perfect for SMS renewable energy in wind, solar, and steam generation.

“With a total 1,000 MWh of BESS in 32 sites nationwide, San Miguel Global Power, a proudly Filipino company, is poised to become one of the largest grid-scale battery storage system operators in the world–something our nation can be truly proud of. This puts us ahead of so many countries in terms of adoption of this technology, which is crucial to our clean energy future,” President Marcos Jr. told stakeholders during the inauguration.

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Romualdez Marcos Jr. (behind podium) was joined by Secretary of Energy, Raphael Perpetuo M. Lotilla, Energy Regulatory Commission Chairperson, Monalisa Dimalanta, Speaker of the House Martin Romualdez and several undersecretaries from various government departments of the Philippines. Senior officials from the Embassies of the United States and South Korea were among the foreign dignitaries to attend the event. (Photo by Gregory E. Tribdino)

SMC pushed for BESS as one of the solutions to the looming power crisis, as it can bridge the energy security gap by storing excess energy when it is available, and releasing it when demand is high.

“Government is working to avert a power crisis. But we know it takes time to complete new power facilities. The BESS network is already here, and it can provide immediate mitigation to the power crisis,” Ang said.

“BESS technology will support our goal of generating 35% of our total energy requirement from renewables by 2030. It is safe, has zero noise pollution, zero carbon emissions, zero water extraction, and generates zero waste. It also remedies the challenge with wider adoption of renewable sources, which is intermittent. I thank San Miguel Corporation and Ramon Ang for another important contribution to national development,” Marcos Jr. added.

SMGP partnered with ABB Philippines, Fluence, and Wartsila as its Engineering, Procurement, and Construction contractors.

“The inauguration of SMGP’s energy storage system fleet is a key milestone for both SMGP and Fluence in the ASEAN region. Our relationship with SMGP began in 2018 when they started to explore energy storage and realized its visionary potential for the Philippines,” said Don H. Lee, GM Southeast Asia and East Asia and VP Service, APAC at Fluence.

Fluence first cooperated with SMC in the re-engineering of the coal-powered Masinloc plant. For this particular project, Fluence and SMGP have deployed 570 MW of energy storage across 18 sites of the 32 sites.

Projects such as this are providing critical grid stability services throughout the national transmission network run by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP). Fluence provided the technology that monitors the frequency response, reserve power, and voltage regulation. SMGP is the company’s biggest client in the region.

“We successfully passed grid compliance tests with the NGCP…Fluence is excited to bring our more than 15 years of team experience together with our reliable and safe products and proven technology to the Philippines, enabling the success of our customers and the country’s energy transition,” Lee shared.

Samsung provided SMGP with its advanced battery module technology that has no direct emissions in its operations. It stabilizes the grid efficiently and at a low cost using the most advanced lithium-ion battery technologies in the Philippines and Southeast Asia.

“With battery energy storage, we can solve the problem with most renewable energy sources, which is intermittence, due to the irregularity or seasonality of solar and wind power sources. Over the next couple of years, we estimate the integration of up to 5000 MW of renewable power into the grid, due largely to our BESS facilities,” Ang concluded.

For over 130 years, San Miguel Corp. has been known worldwide for its remarkable Pale Pilsen beer. It has grown into one of the largest and most diversified conglomerates in the Philippines, with interests in beverages, food, packaging, fuels and lubricants, power, and infrastructure. SMGP is now one of the biggest power suppliers in the Philippines, playing a significant role in the country’s power industry, and is a key contributor in helping the country progress towards the achievement of its climate goals of 35 percent renewable energy generation in 2030 and 50 percent in 2040.

 
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Raymond Gregory Tribdino is the motoring & information technology editor of Malaya Business Insight (www.malaya.com.ph) in the Philippines. He has been covering automotive, transport, and IT since 1992. His passion for electric vehicles started with the failed electrification of a scooter in 1994. He wrote for EVWorld.com, one of the pioneer electric vehicle websites, in 1997. He was a college professor for 8 years at the Philippine Women’s University. He is also now a podcaster co-hosting for the Philippines' top-rated YouTube tech site “TechSabado” and the baby-boomer popular “Today is Tuesday.” He is a husband and father of five, a weekend mechanic and considers himself a handyman, an amateur ecologist, and environmentalist. He is back to trying to electrify motorcycles starting with a plug-in trail motorcycle.

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