AboitizPower thermal business: Bridging today’s needs with tomorrow’s ‘better world’
The world is going through an energy revolution.
Amidst calls for global climate action and the transition towards more sustainable power systems, developed countries lead the efforts to curb climate change and its adverse effects on communities. However, developing nations receive the brunt of the pressure to follow suit, even as this shift cannot happen overnight for emerging economies like the Philippines.
With this in mind, Aboitiz Power Corporation is taking a pragmatic approach. While the company recognizes and supports the imperative for an energy transition in the country, initiatives toward this end should not be done at the expense of social development and economic growth.
Guided by its grand-scale vision and higher purpose of transforming energy for a better world, the company aspires to usher the Philippines into an era where there is energy abundance, zero poverty, and an environmentally sustainable society.
AboitizPower’s thermal business unit, composed of its coal and oil subsidiaries, claims its role in the Philippine energy space by building the future today by leading the energy transition and ensuring security and equity.
“Our mandate has always been to provide reliable, reasonably priced, and responsibly produced electricity to support the Philippines’ economic growth. A sensible energy mix will allow us to help power the country during this change. At the same time, we look for solutions to decarbonize more deeply,” AboitizPower President and Chief Executive Officer Manny Rubio said. “While we pursue the path toward a more sustainable Philippine energy system, our thermal assets will play a crucial role in bridging the gap between the needs of today and the better world we envision tomorrow.”
A well-managed energy shift
Data from the Department of Energy show that by the end of 2021, more than three-fourths of the country’s power came from thermal sources. Transitioning into a more sustainable energy system isn’t as easy as “turning off” all the country’s thermal assets and “turning on” as many renewable energy (RE) facilities as possible. Rubio said this narrative is over-simplistic and ignores inconvenient truths that tell a more complex energy transition story.
The goal is to ultimately transition to a net-zero emissions energy system in which most electricity is generated by renewable energy, and offsets and sequestration mitigate the remaining emissions. The Philippines can learn from the experience of its developed counterparts that went into RE too fast, too soon, and have now been forced to restart their thermal plants to meet their energy demand.
While AboitizPower has ambitious goals to grow RE in the Philippines further, the organization understands the need for a well-managed energy transformation, especially in a country with much potential for economic growth and human prosperity. Together with its partners, the company is one of the largest clean energy producers in the country today and is currently growing its RE portfolio threefold from its current capacity by 2030.
According to Rubio, AboitizPower is taking a well-calculated and long-term approach toward decarbonization.
“A decarbonized Philippines requires a well-managed shift involving supply and demand, which realistically will involve a decades-long transition to accomplish,” he stated.
Ensuring energy equity and security for today and tomorrow
As the organization sets its eyes on the future, someone has to take care of the present.
“Whatever we do, we must move ahead and continuously focus on our customers. That’s why in all that we do, we constantly ask ourselves: How can we enhance their experience, keep costs down, and ensure reliable and responsible power delivery?” AboitizPower Thermal Business Group Chief Operating Officer Felino Bernardo said.
In particular, AboitizPower’s coal business unit is approaching the matter holistically, integrating the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) framework into its operations and policies.
“We continue to improve our eco-efficiency and environmental management by leveraging new technologies and innovations,” said Bernardo.
The thermal group also seeks to expand its generation portfolio beyond coal and oil, having partnered in 2021 with JERA, one of the world’s largest power companies based in Japan.
Under this collaboration, both parties will explore co-firing technologies, carbon capture systems, and thermal power generation using green fuels like ammonia and hydrogen to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Since both Japan and the Philippines rely on imported fuels due to limited domestically sourced fuel, the two companies have teamed up to look for possible alternatives, such as liquefied natural gas (LNG)-to-power projects.
According to the Department of Energy’s Philippine Energy Plan, the country’s electricity demand is estimated to grow 6.6 percent annually up to 2040 and twice this amount through to the year 2050, presenting AboitizPower with the opportunity to provide secure energy sources for the country.
AboitizPower’s thermal group believes the pivot to natural gas as an alternative baseload power source is the most efficient investment to help the country meet growing electricity demand. LNG also has lower emissions than coal and is an excellent complement to variable RE.
GNPower Dinginin, new kid on the block
AboitizPower’s thermal business group currently has 20 facilities under its portfolio strategically positioned across the Philippines to provide a steady and affordable power supply to homes, businesses, and communities.
The latest addition to the company’s fleet, considered by far the country’s biggest in terms of installed capacity, is the 2 x 668-MW supercritical power plant operated by GNPower Dinginin (GNPD) in Mariveles, Bataan. This plant model is considered the standard for modern designs and offers greater efficiency and lower emissions than its predecessors. The project, seen to boost power supply reliability in the grid, is in the final stages of construction.
“We are truly thankful to our partners who share the same mission as ours. GNPD’s capacity allows AboitizPower to continue carrying on our vital role in the country’s power supply chain and meeting increasing power demand at a competitive cost,” Bernardo said.
Conscious efforts for a Better World
The company remains undeterred by external pressures. Although the nature of its business may seem to put it in a precarious position these days, the organization believes this is not the case.
AboitizPower will continue to do what is right as it stands at the edge of the greatest transformation it will ever take in years, ensuring its massive transformative purpose grounds all its perspectives, strategies, and efforts.
“We have already come so far, but this is only the beginning for us in AboitizPower. Maximizing our thermal and renewable assets, we will continue transforming energy toward a more sustainable future,” Rubio shared. “We are confident that we can help change the country for the better by powering progress and helping build prosperity for all.”
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