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Meralco bares Phl’s first grid-scale energy storage system




The Philippines’ first grid-scale distribution-connected Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) was launched by top Meralco and Hitachi officials, led by Meralco president and CEO Atty. Ray C. Espinosa (4th from left) and Hitachi Asia Ltd. Philippines general manager Mitsuhiko Shimizu (4th from right). Joining them onstage were Meralco FVP and head of customer retail services and corporate communications Victor S. Genuino (leftmost), Meralco SVP and Head of Networks Ronnie L. Aperocho (2nd from left), Department of Energy Director Mario C. Marasigan (3rd from left), Hitachi Ltd. Japan Division general manager Jiro Yasuda (3rd from right), Hitachi Ltd. Japan global sales operations manager Katsumei Mori (2nd from right), and Hitachi Asia Ltd. Philippines senior director Lourdes Yap (rightmost).  

In another example of its relentless pioneering spirit, the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) introduced the Philippines’ first grid-scale distribution-connected Battery Energy Storage System (BESS), a technology for storing electric charge through special batteries.

Commissioned in San Rafael, Bulacan, the utility’s two 1-megawatt (MW) lithium-based BESS units were launched September 6 in partnership with Japanese multinational conglomerate, Hitachi, through a Memorandum of Agreement.

BESSs are a sub-set of Energy Storage Systems (ESSs), the general term for systems that store energy to be consumed at a later time. Storing energy defers or reduces the need to buy capacity from the electricity marketplace.

BESS holds an advantage over other storage technologies due to its generally smaller footprint and a lack of restrictions regarding where these may be installed. Although versions are available, those of lithium-ion, a newer technology and the kind set up by Meralco, offer greater energy storage for their size and can be charged and discharged many times in their lifetime compared to most ESS technologies.

Lithium-ion batteries are currently the most cost-effective with the best energy density. They have been seen in a variety of consumer electronics applications such as in smartphones, tablets, laptops, digital cameras, and electric vehicles; with designs ranging from a few kilowatts with a few minutes of storage, up to multi-megawatt solutions with hours of storage that may be used at a utility substation or a wind or solar farm.

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