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AC Energy readies 2030 renewables target

By Angelica Y. Yang

AYALA-LED AC Energy Corp. is setting its sights on a new renewable energy goal, this time for 2030 where local and foreign projects will have equal sharing, as it is set to hit its 5-gigawatt (GW) target ahead of the 2025 deadline, its top official said.

“In the next couple of years, you would most likely hear from us regarding our next target. I have no plans of putting another, of revising our 2025 goal,” said AC Energy President and Chief Executive Officer Eric T. Francia in a media briefing on Monday.

“We will most likely set our sights already for 2030, but we’re still going to be calibrating what the right level of renewable target would be,” he added.

Asked about the projected share of local and foreign renewable energy (RE) technologies in 2030, Mr. Francia said that he was looking at a 50-50 portfolio mix for Philippine and international projects.

Although he could not share the 2030 target for now, he said that it would be a “significant number” as AC Energy expects to exceed its 5-GW attributable capacity of RE by 2025.

He said that the firm projected to get to the halfway mark this year, with funding from its various capital-raising activities and opportunities in foreign markets.

“We expect to be in the two-and-a-half gigawatt mark between our Philippine and international platform[s]. Right now, we are about 1,350 megawatts (MW). We have around 900 MW in international and 450 [MW] in the Philippines, so combined renewables is 1,350 [MW],” Mr. Francia said.

Mr. Francia said that projects using solar and wind technologies would take up a huge chunk of the company’s capacity by 2025.

“I don’t have a specific percent breakdown between solar and wind, but what I can tell you is, solar and wind will have the lion’s share of our technology mix,” he said. “Solar is most likely going to be larger in terms of installed capacity over wind.”

Mr. Francia also highlighted the importance of battery storage in allowing for the expansion of renewables.

“In the next three to five years, I expect battery storage to be competitive enough — to start scaling up and enable the renewables expansion. No hard targets. We have begun some battery projects already, they’re modest in size. But hopefully by 2025, it (battery storage) will play a more significant role,” he said.

He noted that there were several battery storage projects across the industry, but they were mainly used as ancillary services for the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines. He estimated that it would take up to five more years until battery storage could be used for load shifting, a process that stores energy during the day and releases it at night.

During the briefing, Mr. Francia also talked about AC Energy’s projects in Australia and India.

“We already started the preliminary construction of the first phase of the solar project in Australia. (It) is worth — attributable to us — approximately 400 MW of solar,” he said. “In India, we’ve won an auction there before. We just need to get to financial close, and again we expect to add another few hundred megawatts of solar capacity in India.”

On the firm’s investment in GNPower Kauswagan Ltd. Co., Mr. Francia said that he expects its sale to reach a financial close by this quarter.

GNPower Kauswagan, a partnership of AC Energy, Philippine Investment Alliance for Infrastructure Fund and Power Partners, is building a four-unit coal-fired power plant, each with an identical capacity of 138 MW or a total of 552 MW in Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte.

Last week, AC Energy announced that it raised around P5.37 billion from its stock rights offering that took place from Jan. 18 to 22.

During the stock rights listing ceremony on Friday, Philippine Stock Exchange President and Chief Executive Officer Ramon S. Monzon said that the proceeds would be primarily used in funding at least four solar projects in Luzon, one wind project, and a renewable energy laboratory.

The rights offer is the first of five steps in AC Energy’s $2-billion corporate restructuring, according to Mr. Francia during a media briefing in November. The other steps are: Singapore-based GIC Pte. Ltd.’s private placement of four billion shares by the end of the second quarter; a follow-on public offering at the local bourse; the infusion of the Ayalas’ international energy assets; and the sale of secondary shares to GIC from AC Energy and Infrastructure Corp.

On Monday, shares in AC Energy at the stock exchange inched up 4.37% or 0.28 centavos to finish at P6.68 apiece.

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