• Ayala’s energy unit to boost RE portfolio

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    AC Energy Holdings Inc., the energy arm of Ayala Corp., plans to strengthen its renewable energy (RE) portfolio particularly in solar and hydro power generation.

    John Eric Francia, AC Energy president and CEO, said they are considering revisiting their plans to develop solar power facilities as the technology is fast becoming commercially viable.

    Although the company shelved its solar projects in Mindanao a couple of years ago, Francia said they are still monitoring developments in the solar industry.

    “We are very much aware that solar panel prices continue to go down. Everyone is talking about battery technology coming soon in terms of commercial viability so we cannot ignore these developments,” he told reporters on the sidelines of an economic forum in Makati city.

    He said they are not participating in the race for the 500-megawatt (MW) allocation for solar projects to avail of the Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) incentive.

    “Although we are not participating in the race, it doesn’t mean that we have forgotten solar. We continue to study the prospects,” he added.

    Apart from solar, AC Energy is also beefing up its hydro power segment.

    “We still have hydro, we still have to get off the ground on hydro because there are local matters that we need to address, seeking community support,” he said.

    In April last year, AC Energy entered into a joint venture with Sta. Clara Power Corp. for the development of run-of-the-river (ROR) hydroelectric power projects in the country.

    ROR hydroelectric power plant operation involves “borrowing” some river water to turn its kinetic energy into electricity, and returning the same unpolluted water back into the river.

    It is “green” because it does not produce harmful emissions. Like other renewable power technologies, it is economical as it depends on the “free” energy of nature as fuel.

    The Ayala group has committed $430 million to grow a pipeline of energy related projects – through acquisitions and greenfield projects – to nearly 1,000 MW gross generating capacity.

    Ayala Corp. is one of the largest Philippine conglomerates with diversified business interests including investments in real estate, banking, telecommunications, water infrastructure, electronics, automotive, information technology, business process outsourcing and, recently, renewable energy.

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