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San Miguel allots at least $1B for battery storage projects

SAN MIGUEL Corp. (SMC), through its power arm SMC Global Power Holdings Corp., is spending more than $1 billion to build new battery energy storage facilities with a rated capacity of 1,000 megawatts (MW).

In a press release issued on Wednesday, SMC said that 31 new battery energy storage units are underway. The company said that some storage facilities are in the advanced stages of completion.

“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,” SMC President Ramon S. Ang was quoted as saying.

The firm said that the immediate aim of the facilities is to address power quality issues, since the projects will be used as a regulating reserve type of ancillary service by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) to mitigate grid frequency fluctuations and voltage issues.

With the new facilities, provinces and islands stand to have more opportunities for industrialization and economic growth, Mr. Ang said.

“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,” he added.

He expects the relatively new technology to boost the flexibility of the country’s grid, and address the intermittency of renewables.

Earlier in January, the Department of Energy (DoE) identified 13 Luzon-based power projects with a combined capacity of 320 MW that have obtained financing and are supported by battery energy storage systems (BESS).

Based on DoE figures updated in October 2020, all the committed BESS projects in Luzon are by Universal Power Solutions, Inc., a wholly owned unit of SMC Global Power.

In 2018, SMC completed its first battery energy storage facility in its power plant located in Masinloc, Zambales.

Shares in SMC at the local bourse were unchanged at P116.80 apiece on Wednesday. — Angelica Y. Yang

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