First Gen eyeing conversion of gas plants to hydrogen

FGen Sta Rita

Lopez-led First Gen Corporation is looking at the opportunity to convert its gas-fired power plants into hydrogen-equipped facilities as part of its decarbonization strategies. 

Hydrogen is seen as a cleaner energy option versus gas and is considered by many power producers that have gas-fired assets. 

“To meet that net-zero carbon future, our natural gas plants will eventually need to be repowered,  possibly with clean hydrogen, as technology develops and attains commerciality. First Gen Chairman and CEO Federico Lopez said during the firm’s annual stockholders meeting last week.

Lopez added that First Gen looks to be at the forefront of the transition to a net-zero economy by 2050. 

First Gen is likewise exploring energy efficiency schemes and taking stock of other technology, on top of the company’s investments in the renewable energy sector, to help them advance in their net-zero goal. 

“Beyond just halting any additional warming is the Herculean task of preserving, rebuilding, and more importantly, regenerating the planet and everything we’re losing. This is why we believe sustainability is no longer enough in a world that’s badly in need of healing and renewal,” Lopez said. 

First Gen currently has four gas-fired power plants connected to the Luzon Grid namely; the 1,000-megawatt (MW) Santa Rita plant, the 500MW San Lorenzo plant, the 414MW San Gabriel plant, and the 97MW Avion plant. 

All located in Batangas City, First Gen’s gas plants source their fuel from the Malampaya gas field in Palawan, which is seen to be depleted by the first quarter of 2027. Since 2020, the four plants often switch to liquid fuel whenever Malampaya experiences gas production restrictions.

Last year, the Department of Energy signed a memorandum of understanding with Japan-based Hydrogen Technology to explore the use of hydrogen as fuel for power generation. 

Ayala-led ACEN is also looking at hydrogen as one of its renewable energy projects in the Philippines and even in Indonesia.