SMC ramps up RE investments

Danessa Rivera - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC) is ramping up its renewable energy (RE) and cleaner power investments to reduce its carbon footprint while helping address the country’s need for reliable and affordable power.

This as the company dropped plans to put up three new coal power plants with a capacity of 1,500 megawatts (MW) in favor of new facilities.

“SMC has always maintained a diverse power portfolio utilizing renewables and traditional, but proven technologies. This is to ensure that as we transition to cleaner sources, we will not undermine our commitment to meet the growing demand for affordable and reliable energy,” SMC president Ramon Ang said in a statement over the weekend.

“We’re executing our plans to move away from building new coal facilities despite new technologies that make them cleaner. It’s a company direction that is in line with all the major sustainability initiatives we have undertaken these past couple of years,” he said.

With this, Ang said SMC, through its power unit SMC Global Power Holdings Corp. (SMCGP), would put up solar plants combined with battery storage facilities at 10 locations throughout the country. These will be operational by 2023.

The company is also gearing up to build a 1,300-MW liquified natural gas (LNG) combined cycle plant in Batangas City which will provide clean and stable power to Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) over the next 20 years, beginning 2024.

The facility will provide power at a very competitive price, cheaper than what modern coal plants in the country currently offer.

SMC is also set to build small-scale LNG plants in eight to 10 islands in the Visayas and Mindanao regions to boost rural electrification.

It has also lined up several hydroelectric power plants in Luzon.

“For several years now, we have been articulating our plans to move into cleaner and renewable power, and we would like to report to the public that now, these plans have not only taken shape, but we have actually started implementing them,” Ang said.

“Apart from making sure to invest in key infrastructure projects that will support our economic recovery from the pandemic, we have also made sure that we stay true to our larger sustainability goals by continuing to integrate sustainability into our strategic plans,” he said.

The company has already started its transition to cleaner energy with its ongoing construction of 31 battery energy storage system (BESS) facilities all over the country.

The BESS facilities will have a total capacity of 1,000 MW and are set for completion this year and next year.

Ang said these projects represent SMC’s full-scale solution to fix power quality issues in the grid.

More significantly, the project will allow for the integration of over 3,000 MW of intermittent renewable power sources to the grid.

“All these efforts including our ongoing initiatives to clean up our rivers are geared towards helping ensure that our post-pandemic recovery is better, greener and sustainable,” Ang said.

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