San Miguel Corporation (SMC) is looking to build a 200-MW solar farm on its 2,500-ha property in Bulacan to help power its P740-billion New Manila International Airport project, as it expands efforts to sustainably transition to cleaner energy sources.
SMC’s international gateway project in Bulacan is seen to not only solve the worsening airport and traffic congestion in Metro Manila and give the Philippine economy a major boost. It is projected to generate trillions of dollars in economic activity and job opportunities, potentially contributing about 9% to GDP by 2025. Estimated annual impact to the economy would amount to nearly P900 billion.
More than that, the airport project is also betting on a green economy to have a dominant role in building a sustainable economy past the pandemic.
SMC president and COO Ramon S. Ang said the facility will be one of the largest in the country, representing one of the many projects the conglomerate – through its energy arm San Miguel Global Power – is developing to integrate renewables to its diversified power portfolio.
Ang said company’s solar farm in Bulacan will come with a battery energy storage facility that can store power when generation is high but power consumption is low, and can be released when the demand is high.
“This battery storage will be a viable solution to balancing electricity loads and storing unstable energy supply coming from the sun and other renewable sources of energy which we are looking to utilize for the airport ,” Ang said.
He added: “Our approach has always been to use cutting-edge technology to shift sustainably to better fuels while balancing the needs of our country, economy, and people for affordable, reliable traditional fuel-based power. We continue to invest in technologies so that our power facilities would have as little impact as possible on the environment,” Ang said.
The circulating fluidized bed technology that SMC uses in its modern, state-of-the-art clean coal power plants ensures that emissions are way below both Philippine and international emission standards as it transitions to cleaner energy sources.
SMC also maintains a mix of renewable and non-renewable facilities, with hydropower and natural gas facilities in its portfolio. Its brand new LNG plants are a first in the country and a viable alternative to fossil-based power generation.
Ang added that SMC has also invested significantly in battery storage technology in various parts of the country to help stabilize power grids, minimize power wastage and provide reliable and affordable electricity coming from a mix of renewable and traditional sources.
The technology is seen to significantly encourage the use of more renewable energy in the long term, as storing power can address one of the main hindrances to wider adoption of renewable power, apart from high cost—that is, limited power source, such as sunlight or wind.