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Philippines’ Aboitiz Power commissions 49MW BESS on floating power barge

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A 49MW battery storage system has just been commissioned at a floating diesel power plant in Mindanao, Philippines.

The battery energy storage system (BESS) has been integrated with the 100MW power barge’s diesel engines to raise their efficiency, reducing their ramping time from 15 minutes to just three. The BESS will save fuel costs and lower emissions for the power plant’s owner and operator Therma Marine Inc (TMI), which is contracted to provide ancillary services to the local grid.

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TMI is a subsidiary of Aboitiz Power, a generator, distributor and retailer of electricity in the Philippines from a portfolio of hydroelectric, solar PV and thermal power plants, with renewables comprising about a quarter of its 4GW capacity.

Having said in a recent earnings call that the project, in Mindanao’s Davao de Oro province, was nearing completion as part of a long-term plan to deploy 248MW of battery storage at 12 sites, Aboitiz Power leadership announced this morning that commercial operations had begun on 30 November.

Finnish energy and marine technology company Wärtsilä was appointed last year to supply and integrate the BESS, using 10 units of the company’s Gridsolv Quantum battery storage solution and GEMS control and energy management system (EMS) platform.

The project was a good example of “creative thinking” around how to use battery storage within the context of the Philippines’ energy market, Frederic Carron, VP for the Middle East and Asia regions at Wärtsilä’s energy business, told Energy-Storage.news.    

“This [project] is a good example of how people are thinking creatively to see to find new value in what batteries can provide, depending on the type of market mechanisms that are in place in in different countries,” Carron said in an interview.

“In the Philippines, there are different types of ancillary services contracts which are available. Some people may have no existing assets, and then they will use the battery in a certain way, for people that have existing assets, they may think of the value of combining those assets [with battery storage].

“That’s the beauty of this battery storage technology. It can unlock economic value in different ways and provide value to the system in different ways,” Carron said.

It is part of a wave of large-scale battery systems being built by large power companies in the Philippines for ancillary services delivery, with one expert noting that companies like Aboitiz and others are essentially competing to have the most efficient power plant fleet.  

Aboitiz Power today said it sees the floating barge project for TMI as a model for both future battery storage investments and for hybrid renewable energy power plants.

The company kicked off construction of another 24MW BESS project this August, at SNAP Magat, a hydroelectric power plant which is scheduled for completion in 2024.  

“Aboitiz Power sees battery technology as a great opportunity to address concerns about the reliability, affordability, and sustainability of energy supply. We respond to the needs of our customers and communities while supporting economic growth by ensuring the stability of the grid,” Manny Rubio, Aboitiz Power president and CEO said.

“We are excited to finally begin commercial operations of our first BESS facility, which will help reinforce the Mindanao grid.”

Energy-Storage.news’ publisher Solar Media will host the 1st Energy Storage Summit Asia, 11-12 July 2023 in Singapore. The event will help give clarity on this nascent, yet quickly growing market, bringing together a community of credible independent generators, policymakers, banks, funds, off-takers and technology providers. For more information, go to the website.

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