The Philippine unit of US energy giant AES Corp. is set to construct battery storage facilities to help address the country’s power supply problems.

The facilities would store power from renewable energy such as solar and make this available for customers even when the main source is not available.

AES Philippines managing director and market business leader Neeraj Bhat said in a recent interview the company sees the opportunity to put up about 200 to 250 megawatts (MW) of battery energy storage systems (BESS) around the country.

“We’re looking at options across Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao,” he said. The company official said there is no specific breakdown for the capacity of BESS projects.

Based on estimates, Visayas and Mindanao need ancillary services or reserve power of about 80 MW each while Luzon requires about 400 MW.

“So roughly on those breakdowns is probably where we can play,” Bhat said.

Currently, AES Philippines is putting up a 40-MW battery storage in Kabankalan, Negros Occidental, the first of its kind in the country.

The company is waiting for the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) to provide  guidance on the ancillary service procurement agreement signed last year. NGCP is the country’s power grid operation.

“We’re in that scenario where we want to see and know what type of service we’re going to provide, under what terms before we make the investment,” Bhat said.

AES Philippines is undertaking the project through subsidiary AES Energy Storage.

The company is also building a 10-MW battery storage in its existing Masinloc coal plant in Zambales.

“That will be a smaller project at about 10 MW to help the needs in Luzon. Again, we’re kind of looking at NGCP for support on that as well,” he noted.

Currently, AES Philippines is spending P49.5 billion to expand the Masinloc coal plant.

The country has been pushing for the use of battery energy storage technology as a possible long-term solution to the country’s power woes.

In order for the technology to flourish in the country, Bhat said the regulatory leadership and grid operator support is needed to push these projects.

Recently, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) came out with a circular classifying battery energy storage as a new source of ancillary services, frequency control ancillary services, particularly contingency reserve and secondary reserve.

(This news story is from Philstar Business)

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