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Siemens, First Gen explore tech solutions

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By Myrna M. Velasco

German industrial giant Siemens AG is dangling modular-scale gas turbines that can be deployed for the provision of reliable electricity access in many of the Philippines’ island-grids or for industrial end-users opting for distributed generation type of solutions.

According to Brian Byrne, chief executive officer for Asia-Power Generation Services of Siemens, the multinational company has whole range of gas turbines that it can offer for small-scale distributed generation – and these are end-users that are usually in the 100 megawatts and below level of peak demand.

“We have applications for small industrial locations. We have a whole range of portfolio – the range is from 3.0MW to 60MW gas turbines; and very often these are in less than 100MW end-users,” he said.

The deployment of small-scale gas generation turbines is one investment sphere that First Gen Corporation is also eyeing as it calibrates its next round of gas-fed power ventures in the country – hence, this could similarly be a mutually reinforcing development trajectory for both companies.

First Gen Executive Vice President Jon Russell acknowledged that there will certainly be a market for modular gas technology solutions in the Philippines – especially since this is an electricity system made up by thousands of isolated islands.

“There is a market, and each location will be different. This can be very, very site specific. It’s not about forcing something when it is not required – it is about recognizing the need then putting in something in place to address that,” the First Gen executive asserted.

As explained, these mobile power plants are standardized, pre-tested modules that are often easy to transport and install. Connection to the grid could take at least six months and such facilities can also be expanded based on the demand growth of a particular off-grid domain.

Byrne further qualified that Siemens has already jumpstarted the rollout of modular gas turbine solutions in various islands in Indonesia – and that is a template wherein the Philippines could take reference from.

“In Indonesia, we’re still talking to parties for projects, but some of them are further along,” he said, adding that this is scalable for the Philippines given “the whole range of fixed to mobile installations. We can move in a gas turbine very, very quickly in a matter of days and have it produce power very, very quickly. So there are some similarities I guess with Indonesia,” the Siemens executive emphasized.

Many island-grids in the Philippines are still being stricken with dreaded brownouts or power interruptions – and the government has been in incessant search for technology solutions that can address such vulnerabilities in the isolated power systems of these domains.

Additionally, the modular gas turbines could be operated with flexibility and high degree of reliability. These too are part of the digital power plant solutions that the German firm has been rolling out for target customers and markets.

These propounded solutions are often done with local collaborations – depending on the need of a particular country or customer.

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