Billionaire’s infrastructure firm in lead to provide 500MW pumped hydro plant in Philippines

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Prime Infrastructure Capital, owned by Filipino businessman Enrique K Razon, is in line to provide 500MW of pumped hydro power to national utility Meralco.

Prime Infrastructure Capital subsidiary Anuhan Power has gained ‘original proponent’ status for its offer to supply 500MW of power through pumped hydro energy storage (PHES) to national utility Manila Electric Company (Meralco).

Anuhan’s original proponent status for the project means that third parties can provide competing bids but Anuhan has the right to match any competing proposal. This method of public procurement for big infrastructure projects is sometimes called a Swiss Challenge.

Anuhan has nominated two projects to supply the 500MW of power. The first, Ahunan Pumped-Storage Hydropower Plant Project, is undergoing pre-development by the company in Laguna, a province near Manila. Anuhan expects it to reach commercial operation by Q1 2027, according to information provided in a project description dated May 2021.

It has two separate project stages. Stage I will deliver 700MW of net capacity to the Luzon grid for primary and tertiary reserve ancillary services. Stage II will provide 500MW of capacity for mid-merit services under a Power Supply Agreement (PSA).

The second plant is undergoing pre-development by another company, Olympia Violago Water & Power Inc. (OVWPI), in which Anuhan has agreed to acquire a controlling interest.

The plants have a capability of a minimum guaranteed output of 12 hours a day which would cover Meralco’s peak hours.

It is the second large energy storage project that Prime Infrastructure has moved forward with in the space of a month. In mid-June, it proposed a solar-plus-storage plant which would be one of the largest in the world, with 2,500-3,500MW of solar PV generation and 4,000-4,500MWh of battery storage capacity.

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