Conglomerate eyes $1B power investments

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    The energy unit of one of the country’s conglomerates is eyeing to invest $1 billion in 2020 to beef up its portfolio both here an abroad.

    AC Energy Inc., a unit of Ayala Corp., is keen on developing 1,500 megawatts (MW) worth of power projects mostly renewable, throughout the Philippines, Vietnam, Australia, India and Myanmar.

    “Next year will be a significant and massive investment year for AC Energy as a group. This year, we raised a lot of funds since we sold down AA Thermal and went to the capital market twice. We are also doing a stock rights offering in the AC Energy Philippines level,” said Eric Francia, AC Energy president and chief executive officer.

    “If you combine those four things, cumulatively we have effectively raised $1.5 billion but around $500 million of that is already deployed and committed so we still have a billion to deploy next year,” Francia told reporters in a briefing in Makati last week.

    Projects in the Philippines will be a 120 MW solar plant in Alaminos, Laguna; 60 MW solar plant in Palauig, Zambales; 150 MW diesel-fired power plant in Pililla, Rizal; and a potential expansion for wind power capacity.

    Australia will have solar and pump hydro projects, while Vietnam will be mostly wind power plants in order to benefit from the country’s feed-in-tariff premium for wind projects that can go online before November 2021.

    AC Energy eyes solar projects in India while a hybrid of mini-grids with solar-diesel-battery storage capability are planned for Myanmar.

    Francia said financial close for these projects will be next year with the “critical mass” seen in the Philippines, Australia and Vietnam, where over 400 MW of projects for each territory will be developed.

    “Start of construction is also in 2020. It only takes one year to finish them except for Australia where it takes longer because of labor restrictions,” he explained.

    Based on equity interest in power generation businesses, the AC Energy Group owns approximately 1.7 gigawatts (GW) of generation capacity in operation and under construction. It aims to exceed 5 GW of attributable capacity and generate at least 50 percent of energy from renewables by 2025.