ACEN, the Philippines listed energy platform of the Ayala Group, has emphasized on the need of upgrading the country’s electricity grid or the interconnected network of power transmission facilities for putting up the large-scale capacities of offshore wind projects.
Speaking at the ‘Wind Energy Forum-Offshore Wind in the Philippines, recently, Rodrigo M. San Pedro, Senior Vice-President for wind development and special projects at ACEN, said, “When we talk about offshore wind, definitely, the scale is much bigger than onshore wind. So, we should be talking about within 300-500 megawatts (MW) of capacity.”
“Without grid availability, that’s a big investment to undertake so I think — and I don’t think right now — there would be substations that will be able to accommodate that capacity between 400-500 [MW]. That’s why I think we need to really upgrade the grid,” he added.
“ACEN has secured three offshore wind energy service contracts from the Department of Energy (DoE),” he said. As per the data from the DoE, the company has an offshore wind project in Calatagan, Batangas with a target installed capacity of 1,024 MW, and another in Manila Bay with 1,248 MW under its subsidiaries Giga Ace 7, Inc. and Gigawind5, Inc., which are expected to start commercial operations by 2029.
Another planned wind project of ACEN, Cagayan West offshore wind project, is planned to have an installed capacity of 1,024 MW under Giga Ace 12, Inc. It is in the pre-development stage.
San Pedro said, “Grid development is among the challenges faced by renewable energy developers aside from the permitting process. But without the grid being available, I think we don’t have the projects to discuss. So, I think that’s the very first thing that has to be solved by the government.”
However, San Pedro acknowledged the effort of the government to explore the potential of offshore wind technology. “The fact that they are discussing about a potential auction price or auction that will include offshore wind are keeping us on our toes right now,” he said.
“Whether it’s going to happen next year, the year after, or three years from now, there’s nothing to do but to advance all our offshore wind projects so it’s ready when the auction comes,” he said.