San Miguel Corp.—controlled by billionaire Ramon Ang—will switch on solar-powered battery storage facilities across the Philippines this year as one of the country’s oldest conglomerates ramps up investments in renewable energy.
The company said in April last year that its unit SMC Global Power Holdings is investing $1 billion to build 31 new battery energy storage systems (BESS), with a rated capacity of 1,000 megawatts, across the Philippines. Of these facilities, 690 megawatts of electricity generating capacity will come online in early 2022, while the rest will be operational by yearend, San Miguel said in a regulatory filing on Wednesday.
“The BESS facilities are intended to augment the renewable energy portfolio of SMC Global Power which includes the construction of solar, liquefied natural gas and hydroelectric power plants to address the continuing need of the country for reliable and affordable power,” San Miguel said.
San Miguel—which accounts for about a fifth of the country’s installed generating capacity—has been ramping up its investments in renewable energy projects to help the Philippines reduce its carbon footprint. The Southeast Asia nation is heavily reliant on fossil fuels, which accounted for than half of total electricity produced in 2020 coming from coal-fired power plants.
Ang—who acquired most of his San Miguel shares from the late tycoon Eduardo Cojuangco Jr. in 2012—transformed the company from a brewer and food manufacturer into one of the country’s most diversified conglomerates with interests in real estate, oil refining, power generation and infrastructure.
His most ambitious project is the construction of a mega international airport—which will cost 740 billion pesos ($14.5 billion)—on a 2,500-hectare (25 million square meters) site in Bulacan province, about 40 kilometers north of the Philippine capital Manila. When completed, the airport can handle up to 100 million passengers annually, about three times the capacity of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the country’s main gateway.
Ang was ranked the country’s ninth-richest person with a net worth of $2.3 billion when the list of Philippines’ 50 Richest was published in September.