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Ayala unit to begin work on Australian solar project

AC Energy Inc., the power unit of Ayala Corp., and joint venture partner UPC Renewables expect to start the construction of a 700-megawatt solar project in Australia by the middle of the year, a top executive said over the weekend.

“In Australia, we hope to be shovel-ready middle of this year, second quarter to be a little more on the hopeful side. We’re doing a 700-MW solar [project] in New South Wales that hopefully will be shovel-ready in middle of the year. We might do it in phases. That’s going to require a significant investment as well,” AC Energy president Eric Francia said.

AC Energy announced last year it would invest $30 million for a 50-percent ownership of UPC Renewables’ Australian business and provide a $200-million facility to fund the project’s equity.

AC Energy said the joint venture investment would allow the company to participate in the Australian renewable energy sector.

UPC Renewables Australia is developing the 1,000-MW Robbins Island and Jims Plain projects in North West Tasmania and the 600-MW to 800-MW New England Solar Farm near Uralla in New South Wales.

UPC Renewables Australia also has a development portfolio of another 3,000 MW in NSW, Tasmania, and Victoria. 

“AC Energy is very excited to invest in UPC Renewables Australia as it complements AC Energy’s goal to exceed 5,000 MW by 2025. The UPC Renewables Australia platform is focused on large-scale projects and is managed by a high-quality management team” Francia said earlier.

“The Robbins Island project itself is a very large site and together with Jim’s Plains have some of the best-proven wind resources in the world, and the New England Solar project has an excellent solar resource within close proximity to transmission,” Francia said. 

AC Energy is also looking at starting wind projects in Vietnam to meet the feed-in tariff deadline. 

AC Energy’s international arm AC Energy International Holdings Pte. Ltd. acquired a 25-percent stake in Singapore-based The Blue Circle Pte. Ltd. which has wind projects in Southeast Asia.

AC Energy International and TBC agreed to jointly develop, construct, own and operate a pipeline of around 1,500 megawatts of wind projects across Southeast Asia, including 700 MW in Vietnam. 

AC Energy earmarked $100 million of equity for the initial 200-MW wind projects with TBC.

Francia said the company, together with its partner, was already building 400 MW of solar projects in Vietnam.

“In Vietnam, we’re currently building over 400 MW of solar, 410 MW to be exact. 

Vietnam is happening. Some of this funding will go to our solar project in Vietnam,” he said. 

The company earlier identified its partners in Vietnam’s renewable energy projects including 

BIM Group of Vietnam for solar development.

AC Energy and BIM Group the signed engineering, procurement and financing documents for the development for solar power plants of up to 280 MW capacity in Ninh Thuan province.

AC Energy also signed a partnership agreement with AMI Renewables Energy Joint Stock Co. for the development of solar plants in Vietnam. 

The joint venture announced plans to build solar farms with 80 MW in the provinces of Khanh Hoa and Dak Lak in Vietnam, which could be expanded by another 50 MW. 

The solar farms in Vietnam are expected to be commissioned in time for the June 2019 solar feed-in tariff deadline.

AC Energy aspires to develop 5,000 gigawatts of attributable capacity and generate at least 50 percent of energy from renewable projects by 2025.

Topics: AC Energy Inc. , Ayala Corp. , Eric Francia , UPC Renewables Australia
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