AC Energy to ensure coal plantsâ reliability
In a virtual briefing, AC Energy president and chief executive officer Eric Francia said the company plans to divest the balance of AA Thermal in the next couple of years, in line with the group’s goal of fully divesting from coal by 2030.
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AC Energy to ensure coal plants’ reliability
Catherine Talavera (The Philippine Star) - November 23, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — AC Energy, Inc., the power unit of the Ayala Group, will ensure the reliable operations of AA Thermal Inc.’s coal power plants before proceeding with the divestment plan for its remaining stake.

In a virtual briefing, AC Energy president and chief executive officer Eric Francia said the company plans to divest the balance of AA Thermal in the next couple of years, in line with the group’s goal of fully divesting from coal by 2030.

“We want to complete the units first. As you know, unit 1 is targeted for commercial operations early next year, between March and April is our estimate for full commercial operations,” Francia said.

Francia said the company would like to make sure that the plant is operating well before it proceeds with the potential divestment plan for AA Thermal

Last year, AC Energy completed the sale of a 49 percent voting interest with 60 percent economic interest in AA Thermal Inc. to Aboitiz Power Corp.

The transaction was valued at $572.9 million.

The parties signed a share purchase agreement in 2018 between AboitizPower and Arlington Mariveles Netherlands Holding B.V., a wholly owned subsidiary AC Energy.

AA Thermal has ownership interest in the 2 x 300 MW coal-fired power plant in Mariveles, Bataan owned by GNPower Mariveles Coal Plant Ltd. Co., which has been in operations since 2014, and in the 2 x 600 MW supercritical coal-fired power plant in Dinginin, Bataan owned by GNPower Dinginin Ltd. Co., which is currently under construction.

Francia said the company is in no rush to divest its stake in AA Thermal, emphasizing that it needs to ensure that the thermal plants are operating well.

“But once the plant is doing well, that it’s reliable, then yes, we could think about passing the baton,”he said.

Earlier this year, Ayala Corp., the parent firm of AC Energy, announced that it aims to fully divest from coal by 2030.

This works in line with AC Energy Philippines Inc. (ACEN)’s efforts in investing in renewables as it targets to achieve 5,000 megawatts (MW) of renewables by 2025.

Francia said the firm may exceed the target with more projects expected to come online next year, as it is set to build projects in the Philippines, Australia, India and Vietnam which will have the capacity to generate 1,500 MW of electricity next year.

At present, ACEN has around 1,000 MW of capacity in the Philippines, of which 550 MW are renewables.

Francia said by next year, ACEN’s renewable portfolio would reach around 1,350 MW with the infusion of AC Energy International into ACEN, which will add around 900 MW of renewable capacity.

With these new projects ACEN’s renewable capacity  will increase to 2,500 MW by the end of 2021,already halfway its target of 5000 MW by 2025.

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