SMC readies solar venture

by Alena Mae S. Flores – February 12, 2017 at 09:08 pm

from Manila Standard Today

San Miguel Corp. and its strategic partner plan to put up 1,500 megawatts of solar capacity within two years, its top executive said over the weekend.

The solar power plant venture is a part of San Miguel’s decision to diversify into renewable energy through subsidiary SMC Global Power Holdings Inc.

“SMC targets 1,500-MW solar venture, in two years,” San Miguel president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang said.

The company has shortlisted two Asian companies, one of which could emerge as its strategic and technical partner on the green venture.

The joint venture is also looking at opportunities in hydropower and natural gas.

San Miguel said last week the new venture would unburden power consumers of punishing electric bills resulting from the feed-in tariff subsidies given to renewable energy producers.

Ang noted that the cost of RE technologies worldwide had been dropping, with the global renewable sector maturing.

San Miguel earlier focused its resources on putting up baseload, or coal fired power plants. The company is nearing completion of the first phase of its coal plants in Bataan and Davao provinces and is also considering similar projects in Mindanao and the Visayas.

“It’s about time we find a balance between promoting clean energy and securing the country’s energy needs without making consumers bear the cost of a punishing subsidy for years in favor of RE producers,” Ang earlier said

The country’s feed-in tariff system guarantees compensation for renewable energy producers through a long-term fixed price over a 20-year spread, a subsidy that is shouldered by power consumers.

The Philippines has one of the highest electricity rates in Asia. Consumers are paying additional rates through the feed-in tariff allowance.

“We have a responsibility as a major power producer to do our share in pushing for a sustainable clean energy economy but it has to be done in the most efficient way possible for the consumers. With critical mass and better technology, I believe we should be able to strike the perfect balance between renewable and non-renewable sources in terms of the country’s energy mix,” Ang said.

San Miguel also owns 60 percent of the 218 MW-Angat hydro power plant and is the independent power producer administrator of the Ilijan natural gas plant in Batangas and the San Roque hydro station in Pangasinan.

Ang said the company formed a team that would conduct researches on and develop solutions across the clean energy sector.

“We are challenging ourselves to be able operate in the most environmentally responsible manner while taking into consideration energy security and affordability to the consumers. Initiatives to achieve this objective are under way and I’m proud to say, we are making good headway,” he said.