Meralco to scale up battery energy storage portfolio

Danessa Rivera - The Philippine Star
Meralco to scale up battery energy storage portfolio
Meralco linemen upgrade the electrical post and wiring along Fabella Road at Barangay Addition hills in Mandaluyong City on April 21, 2021.
The STAR / Boy Santos, file

MANILA, Philippines — Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) is looking to scale up its battery energy storage system (BESS) portfolio by expanding its existing capacity in Bulacan and putting up a new facility in Manila.

The power distributor is planning to expand the capacity of its two-megawatt (MW) BESS in Bulacan, Meralco senior vice president and head of networks Ronnie Aperocho said.

As part of its smart grid journey, Meralco piloted the BESS in San Rafael, Bulacan in September 2019 to help the company understand and integrate the technology within its distribution system.

For this project, Japan’s Hitachi Ltd. provided Meralco with 2,300 battery cells that can deliver two MW of power intermittently.

Meanwhile, Meralco is also looking to set up a BESS in Paco, Manila as part of the redevelopment of the property auctioned off by the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM).

Last month, the power utility was declared as the winning bidder for the Isla Provisor property in Paco, Manila, the underlying land of the decommissioned Manila Thermal Power Plant.

Meralco will develop it into a sustainable property with electric and non-electric facilities within a 10-year horizon.

Part of the 10-year redevelopment is a BESS that can generate seven to 10 MW of power.

The plan also involves the replacement of the 66-year-old outdoor and conventional Tegen substation with an indoor switchgear that will use pure air or other alternatives to sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) gases; and construction of an energy-efficient building powered by solar PVs for the company’s first Smart Meter Operation Center.

The Isla Provisor property is situated near the Meralco Tegen substation, which houses various electrification equipment.

In 2015, Meralco chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan acknowledged the dawn of battery storage would disrupt the company’s distribution business, thus the need to eventually enter the energy storage space, especially when prices of the technology go down.

With the pilot ESS project, Meralco will also be able to address the variability of renewable energy supply within its system.

Meralco is shifting its energy mix with a target to bid out 1,000 to 1,500 MW of RE generation in the next five years while its subsidiary, Meralco Powergen Corp. is eyeing to build over 1,500 MW of RE capacity in the next five to seven years.

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