AC Energy to focus on existing expansion projects in Vietnam, Australia

Danessa Rivera - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — AC Energy Inc., the energy platform of the Ayala conglomerate, is focusing on its over 700-megawatts (MW) renewable energy developments in Vietnam and Australia before finding its fifth market for its regional expansion.

The Ayala firm has recently bought a 25 percent stake in The Blue Circle Pte. Ltd. (TBC), a Singapore-based firm with assets across Southeast Asia, primarily Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and Cambodia.

However, the company is still busy in Vietnam and Australia, AC Energy president and CEO Eric Francia said. “There could be a fifth market, but depends on how things evolve,” he said.

For now, AC Energy’s existing markets are Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. The company is planning to spend $200-to $300-million in the near term for its regional expansion.

“We have a very rich pipeline, our pipeline is focused in Vietnam, the Philippines and Australia,” Francia said.

In Vietnam, AC Energy is developing solar projects and is looking at possible wind projects.

“We’re currently building over 400 megawatts (MW) of solar, 410 MW to be exact,” Francia said. “But we’re also looking at wind in Vietnam. Right now, we are looking at projects somewhere in the 500 to 1,000 MW.”

The wind projects should be shovel ready by first quarter of 2020 to meet the deadline for the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) race.

“That’s imminent because there’s a deadline. We have to complete by November 2021. That means we have to start construction by first quarter of 2020, which means we have to deploy capital in the next 12 to 18 months,” Francia said.

Meanwhile, AC Energy has 3,000 MW renewable energy project developments located in New South Wales, Tasmania and Victoria. Currently, it is working on a 700-MW solar farm in New South Wales.

“In Australia, we hope to be shovel ready by the middle of this year, second quarter to be a little more on the hopeful side. We’re doing a 700 MW solar in New South Wales, that hopefully will be shovel ready in the middle of the year,” Francia said.

He said the solar project might be done in phases since it is going to require significant investment.

At home, AC Energy has laid down several projects but is constrained to develop these in one go because of the oversupply in the market.

“We have a strong pipeline here. But because of supply-demand situation here in the Philippines, we’re not planning to roll out aggressively our renewables, maybe 100 MW here and there over the next couple of years, nothing massive,” Francia said.

These bits of projects are solar developments in Luzon.

“We’re focusing now on solar. Modest size, 100 to 200 MW over the next one to two years is what we’re looking at as possible projects to be constructed here…in Luzon,” Francia said.

These projects will help AC Energy meet its 5,000-MW target by 2025, a ramp up from the previous target of 2,000 MW by 2020.

Based on its equity interest in power generation businesses, it owns approximately 1.7 GW of generation capacity in operations and under construction.

Last year, it generated 2,800 gigawatt-hours of energy, of which 48 percent was from renewable sources.

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