MANILA, Philippines — AC Energy Corp. (ACEN) is setting its sights on solar and wind projects, coupled with battery storage, to scale up its renewable energy (RE) portfolio.
During the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting yesterday, ACEN president and CEO Eric Francia said the company is prepared to invest heavily in renewables led by solar and wind.
“We are currently focused on scaling up our investment, particularly in solar and wind. We expect to make significant investments in renewables. Given the intermittent nature or variable nature of solar and wind, we believe that this has to be complemented with battery storage to really unlock the potential of renewables,” he said.
So far, AC Energy has started investing in battery storage through a renewable energy laboratory in Mariveles, Bataan equivalent to a four-megawatt (MW) hybrid solar plant integrated with an energy storage system, which will test various new technologies in solar and battery storage.
“We believe that if we prepare in terms of scaling up all of these technologies, we want to make sure that we understand them in a real world setting,” Francia said.
ACEN chairman Fernando Zobel de Ayala said the company is supporting economic revival by pursuing “build back better” towards a more sustainable, resilient, and inclusive future.
“As the country looks ahead to bounce back quickly from the pandemic, ACEN remains strongly committed to our vision of a sustainable energy future. In fact, we believe that this commitment to a green-led recovery is more important now than ever. Towards this end, we built our sustainability framework on three focus areas embedded across our business operations, governance, and culture. We aim to have a low carbon portfolio by 2030, protect the environment, and invest in our host communities,” he said.
The company is further strengthening its balance sheet and augmenting its cash position. It raised a total of P17.3 billion in the first quarter of the year from a P5.4 billion stocks right offering and a private placement of four billion primary shares to GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund.
ACEN is set to conduct a follow-on offering by May 14, subject to regulatory approvals.
It has close to 500 MW of renewables in the Philippines and is set to add 1,400 MW with the infusion of the Ayala group’s international power assets in Vietnam, Indonesia, Australia, India and Myanmar.
After the infusion is completed, ACEN’s attributable capacity will increase to 2,400 MW, of which over 1,800 MW or 77 percent will come from renewable sources, putting the firm in an excellent position to attain its vision of reaching five gigawatts (GW) of renewables by 2025, and realizing its aspiration of becoming the largest listed renewables platform in Southeast Asia.
The planned infusion of international assets and the recent fund raising will further grow the company’s balance sheet by about three and a half times.
“Our strong balance sheet is complemented by a robust pipeline of renewable projects, and our highly capable and motivated team places AC Energy in an excellent position to play a meaningful role in the green-led recovery. We remain committed to continue this journey as we all work towards our aspiration of becoming the largest listed renewables platform in Southeast Asia,” Francia said.
ACEN closed 2020 with a record P3.75 billion in net income in an exceptional turnaround performance driven by significantly improved operating efficiencies, reliability, and operating margins, and the acquisition of additional stakes in local renewable projects.
Despite a difficult environment, the company earmarked P10 billion in capital expenditures, and augmented its generating capacity with the construction of two new solar plants, battery storage and firming facilities in Luzon.
The company’s 2020 investments created more than 3,000 jobs within its host communities.
“Sustainable recovery is now seen as perhaps our best and only way forward to achieve our environmental goals to mitigate climate change, create jobs, build economic resilience, and ultimately, improve the well-being of people. We are delighted that AC Energy has made significant progress along these fronts and continues to be recognized as a key contributor to sustainable growth and development,” Zobel said.