San Miguel, which is controlled by billionaire Ramon Ang, is increasing its investments in solar farms and other renewable energy sources while abandoning coal projects in order to assist the Philippines in reducing its carbon footprint.
“Our journey toward sustainability has reached a significant milestone,” Ang, president of San Miguel, wrote on Saturday in a Facebook post. “Recently, we took the bold step of abandoning our expansion plans for new coal projects. Rather than that, we are expanding our renewable energy capacity. This has not been easy, as our country continues to rely heavily on affordable and reliable traditional energy sources.”
The Philippines is heavily reliant on fossil fuels, with coal-fired power plants producing 58.2 gigawatt hours of electricity in 2020, according to government data. That is more than half of last year’s total electricity production. In comparison, renewable energy sources provided only 21% of the country’s electricity.
San Miguel, which owns about a fifth of the country’s installed generating capacity, announced in April that it would invest $1 billion in the Philippines to build 31 new battery energy storage facilities with a combined rated capacity of 1,000 megawatts.
“We have reached a point where we are confident that, through strategic collaborations and the application of new technologies, we can transition to a low-carbon future without jeopardizing our economy’s growing energy requirements,” Ang, 67, said.
Ang—who acquired the majority of his shares in San Miguel in 2012 from the late tycoon Eduardo Cojuangco Jr.—transformed the company 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 in Bulacan province, about 40 kilometers north of the Philippine capital Manila. It will cost 740 billion pesos ($14.8 billion) and will cover an area of 2,500 hectares (25 million square meters). When completed, the airport will be capable of handling up to 100 million passengers per year, roughly three times the capacity of the country’s primary gateway, Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
When the World’s Billionaires List was published in April, Ang was ranked as the 12th wealthiest person in the Philippines, with a net worth of $2.2 billion.