SREC ready to expand Palawan minigrid

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An aerial view of the newly opened hybrid plant in Sabang, Puerto Princesa City in Palawan. — WENERGY GLOBAL

SABANG Renewable Energy Corp. (SREC) is ready to expand the capacity of its minigrid project in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan if the demand for power in the area it is serving increases to a level beyond the capacity of the 2.6 megawatt-peak (MWp) facility that started commercial operations on Thursday.

SREC is a consortium of Vivant Energy Corp., Gigawatt Power Inc. and WEnergy Global. It operates a hybrid power plant combining solar panels, batteries, and diesel engines, and an electricity distribution system in Barangay Cabayugan, Puerto Princesa City.

“SREC is our way of fulfilling our mission to combine emerging and existing technologies to provide adaptable and innovative energy solutions that improve the economy and way of life of Cabayugan,” said SREC Chairman Emil Andre M. Garcia in his message to formally launch the project.

Under optimal conditions, the hybrid plant will generate as much as 2.6 MWp once it is completed. This will allow the minigrid to provide power to around ten public buildings, 18 small businesses, 19 hotels and restaurants, and 583 households.

“As with all projects, Vivant takes a forward-looking approach where we study community needs while allowing ourselves the adaptability to adjust these solutions to changes. Any increase as has been done in our other Palawan investments, will be determined after we have more information,” said Shem Jose W. Garcia, Vivant assistant vice-president for corporate communication.

Walden Tantuico, SREC president and chief executive officer, said the company installed four diesel engines totaling 1.28 MW capacity and a 1.4-MWp solar energy system for the Sabang project.

“We erected poles and cables spanning 14 kilometers and built the power grid from the ground up,” he said.

Company officials said the project is the first minigrid project under the government’s qualified third-party scheme wherein a distribution utility — in this case Palawan Electric Cooperative — waived an area within its franchise to be energized by another entity

Anthony Shibley, chairman and chief executive officer of Gigawatt Power, placed the cost of the project at P450 million. He placed the stake of the SREC consortium members Vivant Energy, Gigawatt Power and WEnergy Global at 30%, 30% and 40%, respectively.

Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi, who attended the event, said the minigrid project could be replicated in other remote areas of the country that remain without electricity. — Victor V. Saulon