Columns

MELANDREW T. VELASCO: SMC’s energy security through BESS

For a country that is a net importer of energy, it is greatly affected by volatility in fuel prices. It has a long way to go in order to achieve energy security—energy affordability, accessibility, and reliability.

Energy security is essential to attract more investments, both foreign and local. The absence of this has been identified as one of the reasons for the slow growth in energy-intensive investments and of domestic manufacturing industries.

The recent inauguration of the Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) facility in Limay, Bataan is a celebration of hope towards energy security.

Project proponent of the BESS is San Miguel Corporation through its subsidiary SMC Global Power Holdings, Inc. The 50-MW BESS in Limay, Bataan is part of the 1,000-MW BESS network SMC is putting up all over the country. It is the first of its kind in the country and one of the largest in the world.

The BESS makes possible the storage of power when it is not needed or when there is an oversupply. The stored power could be released when required or when there is undersupply.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., who was guest of honor during the event, acknowledged that the problems “in terms of energy supply, energy cost are one of the biggest obstacles when we
talk to potential investors to come to the Philippines.”

The Philippines has one of the highest electricity prices in Asia. Aside from finding ways to increase the supply of power while decreasing its cost, the government is working on ways to improve the mix of traditional and renewable sources of power.

SMC’s initiative to introduce a storage component into the overall energy infrastructure was lauded by President Marcos.  “Given the increasing generation of renewable energy, it is vital then that we advance and incorporate Energy Storage Systems, or ESS, in our overall energy infrastructure.”

According to SMC President and CEO Ramon S. Ang, BESS “is among the best solutions we need to help us achieve energy security for our country, provide access to reliable and affordable electricity for many Filipinos, and accelerate our renewable energy transition.”

Battery energy storage facilities can also facilitate the integration of renewable energy sources such as wind or solar into the grid.

According to the President, the BESS technology is carving a distinct path towards a more energy-secure and sustainable future for the country. “It is clean, it is zero-emission, zero-water extraction, no noise pollution.” The BESS is also expected to generate “green jobs” for the people.

SMC Global Power Holdings is spending over US$1 billion to build battery energy storage facilities in strategic sites in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. This will give consumers in other parts of the country access to stable and good quality.  It will also spur industrialization and economic growth in areas outside the National Capital Region.

With the BESS in place, investors will  be encouraged to locate their plants in these areas.

SMC under RSA’s leadership has embarked on several projects to benefit the nation. It is among the active partners of government in nation-building.

Further than what SMC is achieving for the energy sector, it has taken up the challenge of environment protection through its various green projects. It has embarked on a sustainability program that aims to cuts its domestic and utility use of water by 50 percent by 2025. In its commitment to eliminate water wastage, it has undertaken the reuse and recycle of more water across the SMC group of companies.

To protect essential water sources, it has extended support to the Annual Million Trees Challenge, a project that aims to rehabilitate critical watersheds through the Million Trees Foundation, Inc.

SMC also utilizes fully certified biodegradable plastic packaging and implements a zero-waste returnable glass bottle system. It has discontinued its bottled plastic bottled water business and utilizes plastic wastes to power its cement plants.

It rehabilitated the Tullahan River without government funding and is nearing the completion of  the Pasig River rehabilitation. It also supports the Enhanced National Greening Program of the government through its tree-planting programs. Thus far, SMC’s tree-planting activities have resulted in more than 5.4 million trees added to the country’s forest cover.

There is no illusion that much remains to be done for our country to attain energy security and sustainable development.

“I look forward to more positive things and important advancements we can all create for the Philippines and our countrymen,” RSA said.

With private sector partners like SMC as allies, we shall succeed and win the future for our beloved Philippines.