First Gen to develop pumped storage hydroelectric facility in Pantabangan

By Lenie Lectura -January 27, 2020
from Business Mirror

FIRST Gen Corp. (First Gen) has secured a hydro service contract from the Department of Energy (DOE)  to develop a 120-megawatt (MW) pumped storage hydroelectric facility in Aya, Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija.

The Lopez-led firm, through First Gen Hydro Power Corp., owns and operates the existing 132-MW Pantabangan-Masiway hydroelectric power plant project in Pantabangan. Once completed, the new Aya project will allow First Gen to store water pumped into a reservoir for use at a later time.

“While renewable energy is clean and sustainable, it isn’t always available when it’s needed. But with a pump storage facility like the one we want to build in Pantabangan, we will be able to store some of the energy generated by the dam and deploy it when it’s needed,” said Ricky Carandang, First Gen vice president.

A pumped storage facility stores and generates electricity by moving a volume of water between two reservoirs situated at different elevations (upper and lower reservoirs). Aside from energy, pumped storage facilities can be flexibly operated also to provide ancillary services to electricity grid for grid security and stability.

The hydro service contract gives the power firm five years to conduct predevelopment stage activities—from a preliminary assessment and feasibility study up to financial closing and declaration of commerciality.

First Gen, also through First Gen Hydro, earlier signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), related to the development of the same Aya hydro project. First Gen is also pursuing other hydroelectric projects in Bukidnon, and Agusan del Norte.

First Gen is the largest company in the country that provides only clean and renewable power. In 2016 it declared that it would not develop, finance, or operate any coal-fired power plants.

Aside from hydro, First Gen power plants run on natural gas, geothermal, wind and solar. These plants have a combined capacity of 3,492 MW at the end of 2019.