November 26, 2022

SMC Global Power Holdings Corp. (SMCGP), the power arm of conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC) said Thursday it would expand the extent of its tree and mangrove planting to areas where its battery energy storage system (BESS) facilities will be deployed.

In October of this year, SMC President and CEO Ramon S. Ang said the company’s Project 747 initiative has planted a total of 5,010,116 upland and mangrove trees on approximately 1,500 hectares of land.

The aim of the project is to plant 7 million trees on around 4,000 hectares of land in at least seven provinces. To date, SMCGP has planted at eight farms: Albay, Bataan, Bulacan, Davao Occidental, Negros Occidental, Pangasinan, Quezon Province and Zambales.

The list will be expanded to cover areas where SMCGP battery storage systems are installed or will be constructed. These include Albay, Bohol, Cagayan, Cebu, Davao del Norte, Davao de Oro, Isabela, Laguna, Leyte, Misamis Oriental, Pampanga, Pangasinan and Tarlac. SMCGP is building a total of 31 BESS plants with a total capacity of 1,000 MW.

The battery plants, which will minimize energy wastage and divert otherwise unused capacity to remote areas, are believed to be the best and most sustainable engineering solution to the country’s power quality and reliability problems. They are intended to equalize and improve access to electricity across the country. More importantly, it will make good use of intermittent renewable sources like sun and wind, efficiently storing the energy for electricity when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing.

“Reforestation is one of the top sustainability priorities for the entire San Miguel Group. While in the past we had initiated many similar efforts from our various subsidiaries, SMCGP has taken it to another level and planted a record 5 million trees in just under three years with consistently high survival rates,” said Ang.

He said to ensure high survival rates for its trees – currently around 90 percent for upland and coastal projects – SMGP is working with local communities to identify and plant the native tree species needed.

Community members are also involved in maintaining and ensuring the healthy growth of the forests as part of the livelihood component of the program.

“With our continued partnership with communities and local stakeholders, we are confident that not only will we achieve our goals, but that the trees we plant today will grow to full maturity and benefit their surroundings for generations to come,” said Ang .

He added that afforestation of the areas around the new BESS plants also makes sense because the plants themselves are an important step to strengthen the entry of renewable energy capacity into the future.

“The biggest challenge for renewable energy anywhere in the world is disruption. With renewable energy, the ability to generate electricity is always limited. You cannot generate solar power at night or when weather conditions block sunlight. Without wind, you cannot produce wind power. When there is a drought, you cannot produce hydroelectric power either. Battery storage is key to mitigating all of these issues,” Ang said.

“That’s why we prioritized building the country’s first battery plants and the first and largest battery network to date. It is key to enabling the use of more renewable capacity on the grid and a critical part of our gradual transition and scale-up to clean and renewable energy.”

Ang said SMCGP’s transition away from coal power to clean liquefied natural gas power and renewable energy will be responsibly pursued “without jeopardizing our developing economy’s growing need for reliable and affordable energy, while continuing efforts to provide the entire country with basic electrification.” to supply .”

Photo credit: Contributed photo