San Miguel—controlled by billionaire Ramon Ang—is ramping up its investments in solar farms and other renewable energy sources as it drops coal projects from its expansion plans to help the Philippines reduce its carbon footprint.
“Our sustainability journey has reached a significant milestone,” Ang, president of San Miguel, said in a Facebook post on Saturday. “Recently, we took the big step of dropping new coal projects from our expansion plans. Instead, we are ramping up our renewable power capacities. This has not been easy as our country still depends much on reliable and affordable traditional power sources.”
The Philippines is heavily reliant on fossil fuels, with 58.2 gigawatts hours of electricity produced in 2020 coming from coal-fired power plants, government data showed. That’s more than half of the total electricity production last year. In contrast, just 21% of the country’s electricity came from renewable energy sources.
San Miguel, which accounts for about a fifth of the country’s installed generating capacity, said in April it will invest $1 billion to build 31 new battery energy storage facilities, with a rated capacity of 1,000 megawatts, across the Philippines.
“We have reached a stage where, through strategic collaborations and the use of new technologies, we are confident we can transition to a low-carbon future, without compromising our economy’s growing power needs,” Ang, 67, said.
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Ang—who acquired most of his shares from the late tycoon Eduardo Cojuangco Jr. in 2012—transformed San Miguel from a brewer and food manufacturer into one of the country’s most diversified conglomerates with interests in real estate, oil refining, power generation and infrastructure.
His most ambitious project is the construction of a mega international airport—which will cost 740 billion pesos ($14.8 billion) on a 2,500-hectare (25 million square meters) site in Bulacan province, about 40 kilometers north of the Philippine capital Manila. When completed, the airport can handle up to 100 million passengers annually, about three times the capacity of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the country’s main gateway.
Ang was ranked the 12th richest person from the Philippines with a net worth of $2.2 billion when the World’s Billionaires List was published in April.