Wednesday, February 15, 2017

SMC in talks with 2 Asian firms for renewable energy venture

Posted on February 08, 2017

SAN MIGUEL Corp. (SMC) is in talks with two Asian companies for a possible partnership, as the listed diversified conglomerate expands its energy portfolio to include renewables, the company said on Wednesday.

“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 [renewable energy] producer,” said Ramon S. Ang, SMC president and chief operating officer, in a statement.

He said SMC had short-listed two Asian companies, one of which could be its strategic and technical partner on its clean energy venture. The project will be under its subsidiary SMC Global Power Holdings Corp., which operates a number of coal-fired power plants and plans to build more.

The company did not identify the renewable energy technology it will be using although it described the guaranteed feed-in-tariff (FiT) granted to RE developers as “punishing” for electricity consumers. The quota set by the Department of Energy for solar and wind technology has been fully subscribed, limiting the options for FiT applicants to biomass and run-of-river hydropower.

SMC said its foray into green technology was aimed to help ramp up the country’s renewable energy capacity “in a manner that would unburden power consumers of punishing electric bills.” It also said the cost of RE technologies worldwide drops as the sector matures.

The FiT system pays renewable energy producers with a guaranteed price for 20 years for each kilowatt-hour of electricity they export to the grid. The payment finds its way to the monthly power bills of consumers.

“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,” Mr. Ang said.

“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,” he added.

SMC described its unit SMC Global Power as “the largest independent power producer in the country by installed capacity employing a mix of renewable and non-renewable energy sources to generate power that is reliable, affordable and sustainable.”

“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,” Mr. Ang said.

Shares in SMC closed less than a percent higher at P103 each. -- Victor V. Saulon

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