First Gen starts construction of pumped storage project

Danessa Rivera - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Lopez-led First Gen Corp. aims to start construction of the 100-megawatt (MW) Aya pumped storage project in Nueva Ecija next year.

The company is targeting to break ground on the country’s first pumped-storage facility after completing the long and tedious permitting process, First Gen president and COO Francis Giles Puno said.

“The permitting process for the Aya pumped storage facility is quite challenging for hydroelectric plants. But I think we’re almost there. We’d like to break ground next year,” he said.

Once construction starts, completion of the project would take about 2.5 years, Puno said.

The project is expected to help address the variability of renewable energy plants within and outside of First Gen’s portfolio.

A pumped-storage facility stores and generates electricity by moving a volume of water between two reservoirs situated at different elevations (upper and lower reservoirs). Aside from energy, pumped-storage facilities can be flexibly operated also to provide ancillary services to the electricity grid for grid security and stability.

The Aya project is eyed to become the largest battery system that the country will have, which can discharge over eight to 12 hours of support to the grid, unlike the traditional lithium-ion battery systems that have a typical max discharge of three hours.

Specifically, the Aya project will be utilizing the Pantabangan and Masiway reservoirs as its upper and lower reservoirs.

Once completed, the new Aya project will allow First Gen to store water pumped into a reservoir for use at a later time.

The facility can also provide energy during peak periods and ancillary services to the electricity grid for grid security and stability.

Ancillary services are necessary to support the transmission capacity, maintaining reliable operation of the transmission system and electricity supply in the grid.

First Gen has allotted about $60 million for the continued development work on the Aya pumped storage project this year.

Its portfolio of gas-fired and renewable power plants has a combined capacity of 3,495 MW.

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