AC Energy switches on Php1.9B Pililla diesel plant

ACEN Pilillia diesel plant

AC Energy (ACEN) said that it has begun operating its Php1.9 billion 150-megawatt (MW) diesel power plant in Pililla, Rizal for reserve and peaking power purposes amid the Malampaya gas field’s dwindling supply.

The project is the third venture that the Ayala-led firm opened in the Philippines this year after the 63MW Palauig solar farm in Zambales in April and the 120MW Alaminos solar plant in Laguna in June.

AC Energy developed the plant together with Axia Power Holdings Philippines, a subsidiary of Japan-based Marubeni Corporation.

To ensure high availability for the plant, United Kingdom-based firm Aggreko installed 162 units of diesel generators, providing enough spare capacity. Aggreko will also provide operations and maintenance services to the facility.

ACEN is also gearing up to turn on its 40 megawatt-hour battery storage plant, also in Alaminos, and another 4MW facility in Bataan.

While the company is heavily investing in renewable energy (RE), it said that thermal firming assets are critical to its energy transition strategy towards a lower carbon portfolio.

“To complement our renewables and to provide flexibility and stability to the grid, these firming assets will remain in our portfolio while we develop to scale up our energy storage facilities,” ACEN Chief Development Office Jose Maria Zabaleta said in a statement.

As electricity demand continues to well up in a country in need of additional energy capacities and a stable transmission network, ACEN aims to help address the critically thin reserves by accelerating the development of its pipeline of power plants in the Philippines.

The Department of Energy has been pushing hard for ancillary services or reserve power, especially in the wake of the Luzon Red Alerts from May 31-June 2.

ACEN also has plans of building a Php25 billion 1,200MW dual-fuel plant in Batangas City. Like the Pililla plant, it also aims to provide the Luzon Grid’s mid-merit and peaking requirements.

Ayala’s power arm said it currently has around 2,100MW in renewables capacity. It added that it remains on track to attain its goal of 5,000MW in RE portfolio by 2025 and become the largest renewables platform in Southeast Asia.