TWO Aboitiz units and Finnish company Wärtsilä are working together to install a 49-megawatt (MW) battery energy storage system (BESS) in Maco, Davao de Oro in a bid to strengthen power supply in the Mindanao grid.

In a press release on Thursday, Aboitiz Power Corp. said that the system would be its first battery technology project, which will be put up in the facility of its unit Therma Marine, Inc. (TMI).

It expects the stored energy to “fortify TMI’s capability to support the Mindanao grid” during summer months when energy supply from hydropower plants is limited.

AboitizPower said that it had started building the storage system, in partnership with Wärtsilä and Aboitiz Construction, Inc. The system can be connected to the grid, a small grid, a distribution system, or an end-user facility to deliver demand as needed.

AboitizPower said the energy storage project at its TMI facility is the first of its kind in the country and features a hybrid concept of two complementing technologies.

“This is one of the 12 projects with a total capacity of 248 MW for regulating and contingency reserves that AboitizPower is targeting to develop in the next 10 years. It will serve as AboitizPower’s model for its future battery investments, as well as hybrid renewable energy projects,” the firm said in a statement.

AboitizPower President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel V. Rubio said that the firm’s foray into battery technology is a “key component” of its 10-year growth strategy, which seeks to address the energy trilemma of energy security, energy equity, and environmental sustainability.

“The battery technology presents a great opportunity for AboitizPower to address concerns on the reliability, affordability, and sustainability of energy supply. By ensuring the stability of our grid, we are responding to the needs of our customers and communities, as well as supporting economic growth,” he added.

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) in 2015 issued a resolution that classified the BESS as a provider of frequency control ancillary services (FCAS), as it can provide primary and secondary reserves.

“The introduction of BESS as a new source of ancillary service for FCAS would be beneficial to the efficient operation of the grid,” the commission said, adding that BESS is being used by system operators handling advanced and complex grids around the world.

AboitizPower is the listed holding company for the Aboitiz group’s investments in power generation, distribution, and retail electricity services. It also owns distribution utilities in the country’s three major island groups.

Shares of AboitizPower in the local bourse decreased by 0.41% or 10 centavos to close at P24.40 apiece on Thursday. — Angelica Y. Yang