Corporate News

By Victor V. Saulon, Sub-Editor

AC Energy eyes opportunities in SE Asia

Posted on March 30, 2017

AC ENERGY Holdings, Inc. is transforming itself into a regional player in the energy sector, setting its sights on expanding in Indonesia and entering Vietnam.

John Eric T. Francia, president of AC Energy Holdings, Inc., speaks to reporters about the company’s plans to expand in Southeast Asia on Thursday. -- VICTOR V. SAULON
“We are beginning to look at other Southeast Asian markets. Vietnam is something we are looking at,” said AC Energy President John Eric T. Francia in a briefing on Wednesday.

The move comes after AC Energy signed in January 2017 investment agreements with UPC Renewables Indonesia for the development, construction and operation of a 75-megawatt (MW) wind farm project in Sidrap, South Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Mr. Francia said the company is planning to further expand in Indonesia, adding there are “active discussion” with its partners for potential new projects in Indonesia.

In December last year, AC Energy was part of a consortium that signed an agreement with Chevron Global Energy, Inc. and the Union Oil Company of California for the acquisition of Chevron’s geothermal operations in Indonesia and the Philippines.

“The priority is to strengthen our presence,” he said. “This year, we’re going to add more operating assets in our portfolio. The big one is Chevron Indonesia.”

For now, AC Energy is looking at Vietnam, which Mr. Francia said needs power capacity and is moving to privatize its market.

“We don’t want the opportunity to slip away,” he said.

Mr. Francia said the company’s exposure overseas make up just a small portion of its total attributable capacity, or the output that corresponds to its shareholdings in its various projects, most of which are in partnership with other companies.

“Right now we are about 15% of the total 1,300 MW,” he said. “In terms of being systematic in putting our resources... [It’s] Indonesia first, then second Vietnam. The rest would be opportunistic.”

AC Energy is “open to all possibilities,” but Mr. Francia said its priority is to invest in a platform, similar to what it did when it acquired 100% ownership of Bronzeoak Clean Energy and San Carlos Clean Energy earlier this month.

The acquired companies have a portfolio of solar and biomass projects with a total capacity of 250 MW. Bronzeoak and San Carlos have since been renamed as AC Energy DevCo and Visayas Renewables Co., respectively.

In just five years, Mr. Francia said AC Energy’s attributable capacity has reached 1,000 MW in 2016. The company has set a new target of 2,000 MW by 2020, of which 1,000 MW will come from renewable sources.

In a statement distributed during the briefing, Mr. Francia said that “while it will take time to strengthen our presence in Indonesia, we have started to look around the Southeast Asia region and we hope to make our second regional investment in about 12-18 months.”

Mr. Francia said AC Energy was also committed to be a “key placer” in the retail electricity supply market, although the plan has been placed on hold after the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order that blocked the implementation of provisions on retail competition and open access.

He said some of the contestable customers or those consuming an average of 1 MW monthly have deferred their switch to sourcing their power from retail electricity suppliers from distribution utilities.