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AC Energy moves to buy 50% stake in UPC Renewables Australia

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AC Energy Holdings, Inc. is investing $230 million to acquire a 50% stake in the Australian business of UPC Renewables and provide funding for the latter’s renewable energy projects, its parent firm told the stock exchange on Wednesday, May 23.

AC Energy, a subsidiary of Ayala Corp., said its entry into the Australian renewables market is through a joint venture with the international renewable energy developer.

“AC Energy is very excited to invest into UPC Renewables Australia as it complements AC Energy’s goal to exceed 5,000 MW (megawatts) by 2025. The UPC Renewables Australia platform is focused on large scale projects and is managed by a high-quality management team,” said AC Energy President and Chief Executive Officer Eric T. Francia in a statement.

The overseas expansion will require an investment of $30 million for a 50% stake in UPC Renewables’ Australian business. The Ayala-led company will also provide a $200-million facility to fund project equity.

AC Energy said UPC Renewables Australia is developing the 1,000-MW Robbins Island and Jims Plain projects in North West Tasmania, and the 600-MW New England Solar Farm near Uralla in New South Wales.

“The Robbins Island project itself is a very large site and together with Jim’s Plains have some of the best proven wind resources in the world, and the New England Solar project has excellent solar resource within close proximity to Transmission,” Mr. Francia said.

UPC Renewables Australia also has a further development portfolio of another 3,000 MW located in NSW, Tasmania and Victoria, AC Energy said.

It quoted Anton Rohner, chief executive of UPC Renewables Australia, as saying: “AC Energy investment into UPC Renewables Australia will enable us to accelerate projects in Australia. We are making progress on the Robbins Island and Jims Plain project in North West Tasmania and we endorse the Prime Minister’s recent comment about how wind and hydro are highly complementary.”

“We expect our projects in North West Tasmania to have capacity factors in the order of 50% with the turbines producing power nearly 95% of the time,” Mr. Rohner added.

He said the Robbins Island and Jims Plain projects, together with Tasmania’s hydro assets and other new renewable energy projects, “will assist in making the interconnectors between Tasmania and Victoria, a dispatchable and significant renewable energy generator into the National Electricity Market.”

In July last year, AC Energy disclosed that it had entered into a development funding arrangement with UPC Renewables Asia Pacific Holdings Ltd. and UPC Renewables Asia I Limited — collectively, UPC Renewables — for the development of small island power projects in Indonesia. — Victor V. Saulon





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