Prime Infra offers 500-MW stored power to Meralco

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PRIME Infrastructure Capital Inc. has been declared by Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) as the original proponent to supply 500 megawatts (MW) to the power distributor, the Razon-led company said on Sunday.

In a press release, Prime Infra said its unit Ahunan Power, Inc. offered mid-merit power using pumped storage hydropower as an energy storage system.

“We look forward to the opportunity of further providing renewable energy sources that are reliable and sustainable,” Prime Infra Chairman Enrique K. Razon, Jr. said.

Meralco, through its third-party bids and awards committee, granted the original proponent status on June 29, 2022 to Ahunan Power.

Pumped storage hydropower plants store and generate electricity by moving water between two reservoirs at different elevations.

During off-peak hours, water is pumped from the lower reservoir to the upper reservoir to store unused energy. When power demand is high, electricity is generated by releasing water to the lower reservoir.

Under the rules of the Department of Energy, Ahunan’s offer is subject to a competitive challenge. Ahunan has the right to match comparative proposals.

Prime Infra said Ahunan nominated to Meralco two pumped storage hydropower, either of which can supply the needed 500-MW energy under its offer.

The first power plant is located in Laguna and is undergoing pre-development by Ahunan. The second is in Wawa, Rizal under pre-development by Olympia Violago Water & Power, Inc.

Prime Infra said Ahunan had entered into an agreement to acquire a controlling interest in Olympia.

Prime Infra said that Ahunan and Olympia have total hydro service contracts of 1,200-MW net dependable capacity and 500-MW net dependable capacity, respectively.

It said the capacity represents an additional 8% dependable installed capacity to the Philippine grid or the network of interconnected facilities that transmit electricity from power plants to where it is needed.

The company said the development of pumped storage hydropower plants represents a move away from the traditional oil or gas-based power for mid-merit and peaking. Mid-merit power plants are able to adjust their output when energy demand peaks throughout the day.

It added that a pumped storage facility “allows greater penetration of renewable energy sources as it can both absorb and generate electricity to follow the variability of wind and solar plants.”

“Prime Infra will continue to pioneer energy and other infrastructure projects that are environmentally resilient and socially relevant,” said Prime Infra’s President and Chief Executive Guillaume Lucci.

Ahunan’s plants are said to have the capability of a minimum guaranteed output of 12 hours per day covering the peak hours of Meralco.

Prime Infra is Mr. Razon’s infrastructure arm that focuses on building assets that support urgent sustainability priorities. Its projects include clean and renewable energy, access to clean water, waste management, and viable critical infrastructure. — Justine Irish DP. Tabile