Meralco and Hitachi inaugurate 2MW / 2MWh BESS in Philippines

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San Rafael, Bulacan Source: Judge Florentino Floro, Wikimedia Commons

Philippines power utility Meralco and battery supplier Hitachi have installed a 2MW / 2MWh battery energy storage system (BESS) on the country's largest island, Luzon, according to local reports.

Two 1MW lithium BESS units comprising 2,300 cells were reportedly unveiled on September 6 in San Rafael, a town 50 kilometres north of the capital, Manila.

The project has been in the works since late 2017, when the utility and the Japanese electronics giant signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA).

Meralco did not respond to Energy-Storage.News’ requests for comment, however one newspaper report was republished in full on the Philippines' Department of Energy’s website.

A Hitachi spokesperson confirmed the reports but declined to make further comment.

The reports claim that the project is a pilot that will help the Philippines' largest utility understand and further integrate battery storage technologies. It has been billed by backers as the country’s first grid-scale distribution-connected BESS.

The system will be connected to Meralco’s network via a substation to which a 3.8 MW solar farm is connected.

The Department of Energy circulated draft energy storage system guidelines in April this year that looked at how promote and regulate energy storage systems in the Southeast Asian state.

“The DOE recognizes the applications and the benefits of ESS as an emerging technology in the improvement of the electric power system in accordance to the objective of ensuring the quality, reliability, security and affordability of the supply of electric power,” the circular reads. Philippines' generation companies may own energy storage systems, either as standalone facilities or integrated into existing generation, according to the guidelines. ESS systems can then be registered to participate in the wholesale electricity spot market.

The new BESS was installed just weeks before Meralco approved PHP424 million ($US8.2 million) of equity funding for 210MW of PV projects across Luzon.

Previous projects reported by in the Philippines have been in more remote areas, generally with weak or non-existent grid connection. However, Aboitiz Power, one of the country's larger power producers, teased in 2018 that it was planning a 48MW battery system. Meanwhlle Wärtsilä has declined to reveal the exact location of a 100MW / 100MWh hybrid power plant 'pathfinder' project that it is developing in Southeast Asia which will “leverage abundant wind and solar resources”.

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