SMC power arm continues cleaning portfolio of coal

SMC Global Power Holdings Corp. will convert a proposed 300-megawatt (MW) coal plant in San Carlos, Negros Occidental to a gas-powered facility.

The power arm of conglomerate San Miguel Corp. said it has informed the Department of Energy (DOE) about the plan. The proposed coal plant, it said, would be “changed to LNG” (liquefied natural gas).

Also, a 328-MW coal plant in Davao del Sur would no longer be pursued by the power firm.

These are on top of the four coal power plant projects that SMC Global Power has decided to drop from its growing portfolio.

These are: the 300-MW coal plant expansion in Malita, Davao Oriental, which was supposed to be undertaken by subsidiary San Miguel Consolidated Power Corp.; a 300-MW coal plant in Malabuyoc, Cebu; the 4×355-MW project of SMC Global Power subsidiary Central Luzon Premiere Power Corp.; and, the 2×355-MW coal power plant project of Lumiere Energy Technologies Inc. (LETI), another unit of SMC Global Power.

The company said it has decided to drop new coal power projects to give way to renewable energy (RE) and gas power projects.

The DOE earlier declared a moratorium on endorsing new coal projects. Coal represents 57 percent of the country’s power generation mix last year, followed by RE at 21 percent, gas at 19 percent and oil at two percent. In terms of generating capacity, coal accounted for 42 percent, RE at 29 percent, oil at 16 percent and gas at 13 percent.

SMC President Ramon S. Ang earlier said the power firm is moving away from building new coal power 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,” Ang has said.

The direction for SMCGP it to add more renewables into its power portfolio utilizing technologies that will significantly cut its carbon footprint while continuously addressing the country’s need for reliable and affordable power.

“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,” added Ang.

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—worth more than $1 billion—will have a total capacity of 1,000-MW and are set for completion this year until 2022. These, Ang said, 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. 

As such, Ang said SMCGP will put up solar plants in combination with battery storage facilities at 10 locations throughout the country. These will be operational by 2023.

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

Strategic Power Development Corp. (SPDC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of SMC Global Power, will build a 300-MW Pumped-Storage Hydropower Project worth P26.3 billion in Malay, Aklan.

The multi-billion peso hydro power project is meant to cover a portion of the renewable energy requirement of the Visayas grid particularly during peak hours. This will also contribute to the stabilization of the grid by providing ancillary services and peaking power.

The power firm said it is also gearing up to build a 1,300-MW LNG combined-cycle plant in Batangas City, “which will provide clean and stable” power to 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.

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