Aboitiz eyes RE project acquisitions in Vietnam

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ABOITIZ Power Corp. disclosed on Monday that subsidiary Therma Mobile, Inc. (TMO) had signed a power supply agreement (PSA) with Manila Electric Co. (Meralco). — ABOITIZ POWER CORP.

By Victor V. Saulon, Sub-Editor

ABOITIZ Power Corp. is looking at acquiring renewable energy (RE) projects that are under development in Vietnam with capacities of between 50-100 megawatts (MW) each to take advantage of the feed-in tariff (FiT) scheme being offered in the Southeast Asian country.

Erramon I. Aboitiz, president and chief executive officer of AboitizPower, said the company is considering projects that employ solar and wind energy technologies.

“There are different projects, RE, anywhere between 50 to 100 MW or so are the projects that we’re looking at,” he told reporters in a briefing in Makati City after the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting on Monday.

Asked about the target total capacity for solar and wind, Mr. Aboitiz said: “We’re looking at several. We don’t have a specific target, frankly. We are just being opportunistic in what is available.”

Mr. Aboitiz said Vietnam’s FiT scheme, which offers a fixed rate to RE developers over a given period, is projected to go on for several more years.

“What they’ve done is they have an agreed FiT price that expires within a certain period. I think, for example, the one of wind, the price today expires October 2021. After that, they’ll have a new price,” he said. “The strategy is that they want to really build their RE capacity.”

Mr. Aboitiz said the company’s target RE plant should have to be ready and running by that time, thus he was looking at “projects that have been developed to a certain extent already.”

For solar, he said the new FiT rate should start after June or July this year, thus an “old project” would be an option. A partnership with a Vietnamese partner is the strategy, with the equity dependent on how much it is willing to sell down, he added.

In the local front, AboitizPower Chief Operating Officer Emmanuel V. Rubio said the energy company is bullish on renewable energy, especially solar power, with the government’s stance to implement rules on renewable portfolio standard, a program that requires utilities to source a portion of their requirements power from RE sources.

During the briefing, Mr. Aboitiz announced the appointment of Mr. Rubio as his replacement as president and CEO of the company once he retires at the start of 2020.

“We’re confident that Manny (Mr. Rubio) will continue to bring AboitizPower to greater heights,” he said.

Separately, AboitizPower disclosed on Monday that subsidiary Therma Mobile, Inc. (TMO) had signed a power supply agreement (PSA) with Manila Electric Co. (Meralco).

“This contract is a timely response of both AboitizPower and Meralco to the call of government for stable and reliable power going into the midterm elections and beyond,” AboitizPower Oil Business Unit President and COO Celso C. Caballero III said.

TMO, with four floating power barges moored in Navotas, has a combined gross capacity of 242 MW. The facility went into preservation mode on Feb. 5, 2019, as well as voluntarily disconnected from the grid and de-registered from the energy market.

Meralco has also signed a PSA with Millennium Energy, Inc. for the purchase of 70 MW of electric power, subject to a net dependable capacity test, from the latter’s 100-MW gas-turbine power plant in Navotas Fishport Complex, Navotas City.

On Monday, shares in AboitizPower rose by 0.14% to close at P36 each.