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AC Energy says close to reaching balanced mix of renewables, geothermal

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AC ENERGY, Inc. is close to reaching an equal share of renewables and thermal energy capacity in its portfolio among its operating plants as of 2018, its top official said.

“You’d be surprised. We’re close to 50-50. Very close. I’m talking about actual electrons being produced. It doesn’t include projects under construction,” AC Energy Chief Executive Officer Eric T. Francia said in a media round table at the company’s head office in Makati City.

The Ayala Corp. energy investment platform has 1.7 gigawatts (GW) or 1,700 megawatts (MW) of operating energy capacity. It had targeted installing 1,000 MW of renewable energy by 2020 but had stopped talking about that goal as it sets its sights on a new target of 5GW by 2025 from a balanced mix of renewables and thermal assets.

“Our geothermal investment is 126 MW attributable at a 90% plus capacity factor. That offsets Mariveles [plant] where we also have 126 MW. So SLTEC (South Luzon Thermal Energy Corp.) now is offset by all other renewables. Our wind projects in Indonesia and the Philippines and then our solar project more or less offset the SLTEC [capacity]. So we’re in a nice position,” he added.

The current figure is set to change when its big coal-fired power plant projects come online in the coming months and years.

“I’m actually proud of this. This is our objective for 2025 to be at least 50% renewables, we’re not far from that today in terms of actual operating assets, which is the great news,” Mr. Francia said.

“Now having said that, if we didn’t do anything active because of the power plants under construction once Kauswagan comes in next year, once Dinginin [comes in], imagine if we did not sell to Aboitiz, that’s where you get your 80% plus thermal 20% renewables and it’s gonna be hard to catch up,” he added.

Mr. Francia was referring to GNPower Kauswagan Ltd. Co., which is building in Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte a clean pulverized coal-fired power generation facility with four units, each with a capacity of 138 MW or a total of 552 MW.

GNPower Dinginin Ltd. Co. is building two identical units of 668 MW coal-fired power plant in Sitio Dinginin in Mariveles, Bataan or a total of 1,336 MW.

In September this year, AC Energy announced that it had sold to Aboitiz Power Corp. up to 60% of its economic stake in AA Thermal, Inc., the Ayalas’ thermal platform in the Philippines.

The platform initially consists of its partnership interests in GNPower Dinginin and GNPower Mariveles Coal Plant Ltd. Co., which has a capacity of 632-MW.

AC Energy has yet to find a partner for the Kauwagan project.

Mr. Francia said the selldown was meant to pre-empt coal’s greater dominance in the company’s portfolio mix.

“Before that happens let’s try to proactively manage it. Let’s accelerate our renewables that’s why we’re going big on Vietnam, going big on Australia. I wish we could go big on Philippines soon but it’s not practical for many reasons,” he said.

“So this selldown of AA Thermal to Aboitiz helps balance our portfolio and then you all know it’s been widely reported that there’s quiet a bit of interest in the balance of our portfolio, including Mindanao. So if and when that happens then hopefully we can sort of maintain this balance that we have now in 2018, we can maintain that all the way to 2025,” Mr. Francia said. — Victor V. Saulon