Published March 29, 2017, 10:00 PM By Myrna M. Velasco
AC Energy Holdings, Inc., the energy investment arm of the Ayala Group, is setting its sights on Vietnam as the second regional expansion for its offshore investments.
In a lunch briefing with reporters, AC Energy President and Chief Executive Officer Eric T. Francia said there is no particular technology yet that they are looking at – whether that would be hydro, gas or renewable energy (RE) development opportunities.
“We have started to look around the Southeast Asian region and we hope to make our second regional investment in about 12-18 months,” he indicated.
Francia emphasized that they are “studying other market opportunities within the region,” qualifying further that “it takes time to strengthen our presence in Indonesia beyond the two assets by working with existing partners to pursue expansion and greenfield projects.” He is referring to the recent geothermal acquisition from Chevron Corporation and an ongoing greenfield wind farm development in Indonesia.
The company has 20 percent equity in the consortium that acquired the American firm’s geothermal assets in Indonesia – which are of aggregate 637 megawatt (MW) capacity. The other investment expansion the company will be pursuing is its joint venture with Star Energy for 75MW Sidrap wind power project.
If there is any third regional market that they would be looking at, Francia noted that it will be Myanmar – given the synergy that they already have in that investment jurisdiction for Manila Water Company.
The investment platform that the Ayala group has been exploring would be a split portfolio of 1,000 megawatts for renewable energy and the balance for conventional energy technologies, primarily coal plants.
AC Energy said it sets “a net target of reaching 2,000 megawatts of attributable capacity by 2020, of which 1,000 megawatts will be renewables.”
Currently, the company has 1,300 megawatts capacity, including 300MW of renewables. Of the figure, 15-percent accounted for its overseas power capacity.
“AC Energy is now transforming itself to become a regional energy platform with investment, development, operations and retail capability,” Francia noted, adding that the company “is at a critical inflection point. Our transformation is enabled by rapid organic growth and key strategic acquisitions.”
With its growing portfolio, the energy unit of the Ayala Group already contributed P2.7 billion to its parent’s income base last year, inching up from P2.1 billion in 2015.
The recent acquisition of the company had been Bronzeoak Clean Energy (BCE) and San Carlos Clean Energy (SCCE) which underpins it planned portfolio growth in the RE space, primarily in the solar sector.
Francia said “our newly integrated development platform is a critical element that will help AC Energy attain the goal of tripling its renewable energy capacity to 1,000MW by 2020.”