AC Energy to accelerate divestment of coal assets

AC Energy Inc., the energy unit of Ayala Corp., plans to divest its coal assets ahead of the original target of 2030, joining other local and international companies in the renewable energy bandwagon, a top executive said over the weekend.

“Our commitment is to divest all our coal assets by 2030, but I don’t think we will wait by 2030,” AC Energy president Eric Francia said in a virtual briefing.

AC Energy has around 500 megawatts of remaining coal assets after divesting some of its stake in the 540-megawatt, coal-fired power project in Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte, the 600-MW facility in Mariveles, Bataan and the 1,200-MW station in Dinginin, Bataan.

The company also owns the 70-MW thermal plant in Calaca, Batangas through South Luzon Thermal Energy Corp.

“For Dinginin, unit 1 is targeted for commercial operations next year between March and April. Then soon after that is unit 2. We want to make sure plant is operating well then revisit potential divestment later,” Francia said.

AC Energy completed the partial sale of a 49-percent voting interest with a 60-percent economic interest in AA Thermal Inc. to Aboitiz Power Corp. for $572.9 million in May 2019.

AA Thermal has ownership interest in GNPower Mariveles, which has been operating since 2014, and GNPower Dinginin power plants which are under construction.

AC Energy also signed an agreement last year to transfer its indirect ownership interest in the 540-megawatt, coal-fired power project in Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte to Power Partners Ltd. Co., the developer-partner.

The GNPower Kauswagan power plant is a partnership of AC Energy and the Philippine Investment Alliance for Infrastructure Fund and Power Partners.

“GN Kauswagan is expected to reach financial close by 2021,” Francia said.

Francia said AC Energy is “really very bullish of the energy transition” towards clean energy sources.

“We’d like to play a leading role in the energy transition particularly to the shifting to renewable energy technologies. Our vision to be the largest listed renewables platform in Southeast Asia,” he said.

Francia earlier said the Ayala Group planned to scale up renewable energy portfolio to 2,500 MW in 2021.

“We are really building up AC Energy Philippines or ACEN, the listed company. ACEN will be our main integrated platform for energy. ACEN will realize vision of 5 gigawatts [5,000 MW] by 2025,” Francia said.

ACEN now has 1,000 MW of capacity in the Philippines, but only half is renewable energy.

AC Energy International owns 900 MW of capacity, which is purely renewable. The plan is to infuse the international platform, AC Energy International into ACEN next year.

“For the Philippines, out of the 1,000 MW, around 550 MW of thermal, 450 of RE, so once we infuse the international platform to ACEN, ACEN will now have 1,900 MW, on proforma basis,” Francia said.

Francia said the group’s plan was to scale up renewable energy investments from the current 1,350 MW.

He said they were aiming to expand the renewables capacity of ACEN to 2,500 MW next year, “so we expect to be halfway to our 2025 target as early as 2021.”

“The 1,350 MW, we will bring that to 5,000 MW or even more. I’m feeling quite confident we will exceed our renewables capacity by 2025, we will exceed 5,000 MW,” he said.

Francia said the company was also looking at investing in new RE capacities in the Philippines Australia, India and Vietnam.

Topics: AC Energy Inc. , Ayala Corp. , renewable energy
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