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Philippines’ SMC to start operation of 690MW of batteries

Filipino conglomerate San Miguel Corp aims to complete 1GW of battery storage projects this year to make way for the integration of some 3GW of intermittent renewable energy generation.

The power arm of Philippines-based brewing-to-energy conglomerate San Miguel Corporation (SMC) has said it is ready to start operation of an initial 690MW of battery storage facilities early this year. The company expects to complete 31 energy storage systems in 2021-22, with an accumulated capacity of 1GW.

SMC’s battery storage portfolio started to take shape last year when the company revealed it was nearing completion on projects across the country. It announced 31 batteries would be deployed by the end of this year, not only to improve power reliability and help frequency control, but also to make way for the integration of some 3GW of intermittent renewables capacity.

At the time, SMC president Ramon See Ang said his company would build solar plants in combination with battery storage at 10 locations throughout the Philippines. These are scheduled to go online by next year.

While there has been no update since on the progress of those solar-plus-storage facilities, a couple of big batteries owned by SMC have already been connected to the grid. Last year, German and U.S.-owned energy storage joint venture Fluence said it commissioned two 20MW/20MWh batteries out of a 470MW/470MWh energy storage portfolio it was contracted to supply and maintain for SMC Global Power. With project sites ranging in size from 20 to 60 MW, the SMC portfolio procured with Siemens and AES Corp-owned Fluence is spread across 13 sites.

Finnish tech company Wartsila announced commissioning of its first two battery storage projects for SMC Global Power in May. The projects have capacities of 20MW/20MWh and 40MW/40MWh and are part of previously announced energy storage orders for 100MW/100MWh of systems.

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According to a stock exchange filing today, the battery storage fleet is intended to augment SMC’s renewable energy portfolio, “which includes the construction of solar, liquefied natural gas, and hydroelectric power plants to address the continuing need of the country for reliable and affordable power.”

While an increasing number of utilities are considering natural gas as a “bridge” to full renewables an unnecessary step, SMC Global Power, one of the Philippines’ largest power generators, appears to hold a different view. It operates the 1.2GW Ilijan Combined-Cycle Power Plant, the country’s largest natural gas facility, and is gearing up to build another 1.3GW plant, in Batangas City. SMC announced, in July, it will drop new coal projects from its expansion plans as it transitions to a low-carbon future.

At the time, the company announced it had scrapped “plans to put up three new clean-coal power plants with a capacity of 1,500MW in favor of new facilities that utilize cleaner, renewable energy sources.”

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Source: pv magazine