The advantage of the diesel generating engines of TMI is that they have fast start-up capabilities and can pick up load quickly. These capabilities allow diesel engines to be used for peaking power or the ancillary services market. Ancillary services are support services required to sustain the transmission capacity and flow of active power of the energy grid. These services help maintain the power quality, reliability, and security of the grid.
While diesel-generating engines have their advantages, they can not ramp up fast enough to meet the contingency reserve requirements. The contingency reserve service, in particular, is available power capacity allocated to cover the loss or failure of a power generating unit. It helps maintain the balance between generation and load on a real-time basis.
De La Salle University
The first battery energy storage system (BESS) mounted on a barge is designed to bridge the limitations of the diesel generating units in meeting the requirements of the ancillary services in the delivery of contingency reserve to the grid. It optimizes energy output creating a more secure and cheaper grid for its customers.
The BESS project is aligned with AboitizPower’s vision for “A Better Future” as a stable grid is needed for the community to grow. It is also aligned with the mission to provide reliable and ample power supply when needed while ensuring that electricity is supplied at a reasonable and competitive price and having the least adverse effects on the environment and its host communities.
There are many sources of inspiration for the company to pursue such an innovation. The President and COO, Aldo Ramos, says that the inspiration came from Aboitiz Power's ''need to fulfill its mission and vision. A stable and reliable electricity supply is necessary for the country to develop."
Another interesting inspiration is from the business units that need to evolve. Aldo points out that diesel generating units have been losing contracts because there are cheaper power generators. Hence, the company needed to take advantage of its strengths and find a way to remain relevant. The hybrid system can combine older technology with BESS making the older assets more valuable.
TMI's most important and inspiration is its people. Aldo highlights that being the first floating BESS in the world makes the people proud of the company. Operating and maintaining BESS also has different practices compared to the diesel generating units. This requires the company to ensure its people are fully trained and competent, aligned to the culture it promotes learning and growth for all. Aldo says, "by advancing our business, we are also able to build our people towards our evolution and our future."
One of the short-term impacts of the floating BESS is the temporary employment of qualified applicants in the area. The project required the construction of mooring and breasting dolphins and the installation of the BESS on top of the barge. Another immediate impact of the innovation is the increased motivation of the team to stay with the company because it offers learning and growth.
The long-term impact of the floating BESS is a more stable and reliable power supply in the Mindanao power grid. Increased real property tax payments shared by the barangay, municipal, and province as business tax. There is also an increase in mandated benefits through the ER 1-94 policy under the Department of Energy Act of 1992 and the Electric Power Industry Reform Act, which requires power generators to give one centavo per kilowatt-hour. The government must use ER 1-94 funds for infrastructure, rural electrification, healthcare, education, environment, or enterprise development in the host community. The Maco local government unit has built a COVID-19 isolation facility and purchased an ambulance using the funds from TMI.
The first benefit to the business is the improved competencies attained by the TMI team. TMI had to put together extensive training for the BESS engineers consisting of more than ten modules that they must complete within a year. Included are basic and advanced training on operations, maintenance, and safety precautions of BESS. The addition of BESS has introduced risks. TMI partially manages these risks through employee training.
Improved skills and knowledge increase the employees' retention rate because the team looks forward to the growth of the business. They are also satisfied with the new skills they attain. Along with the development of the current team, BESS requires two additional engineers and one supervisor.
TMI can offer close to twenty times its previous capacity for the contingency reserve market. The hybrid system also allows TMI to improve the utilization and increase the value of its aging diesel power barge.
Most importantly, this innovation paved the way for more BESS projects designed to augment the current diesel generating facilities of AboitizPower, Oil Business Unit. The company is studying other viable options for projects like the floating BESS.
The floating BESS project benefits society by contributing to energy supply, financial benefits to the community, and proof of its concept. TMI offering contingency reserve means more cushioning for other power facilities to encounter capacity issues since it can temporarily cover for lost capacity. The financial benefits to the community allow making improvements or new government projects.
Serving as proof of concept that BESS can be mounted on a barge, the company or others can consider this as a solution to having a mobile energy storage system or upgrading current diesel generating facilities. TMI can replicate the benefits of this innovation to various other projects.
It benefits the environment because it reduces running hours of non-renewable power sources and works conjointly with renewable energy sources. Instead of dispatching non-renewable power sources that have carbon emissions, the operator can utilize the capacity of BESS. One of the issues of renewable energy is the fluctuations in power quality. When a large cloud passes over solar panels, the energy output is decreased, resulting in poor power quality. BESS can be used to manage the energy output reduction of the solar panels to maintain the power quality.
Ronaldo Ramos, President and COO
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Maco, Compostella Valley, PH
Business Website: https://aboitizpower.com/
Year Founded: 2010
Number of Employees: 51 to 200
Therma Marine, Inc. (TMI) is part of the AboitizPower group of companies dedicated to providing energy solutions that are reliable, reasonable, and responsible. It aims to create a better future for its host communities and nation.