30 AUGUST 2012
Ayala sets energy spending
THE PLAN of Ayala Corp. power unit AC Energy Holdings, Inc. to build a 1,000 megawatt (MW) capacity in five years will cost some $2.5 billion, a senior official of the conglomerate told reporters yesterday.
“Our benchmark is 1,000 MW in the next five years. Total project [sic] cost is about $2.5 billion, of which $500 million will come from equity,” Ayala Corp. Managing Director John Eric T. Francia, who is also the conglomerate’s Corporate Strategy and Development group head, said at the sidelines of the Philippine Stock Exchange’s “Opportunities in the Renewable Energy Sector” Forum at Tower One, Makati City.
He said the conglomerate is looking at both new and acquisition opportunities in the power sector. “Acquisition is more limited in terms of opportunity so we want to do both,” he said.
Mr. Francia clarified that the targeted 1,000-MW capacity refers only to new projects, hence, does not cover acquisitions.
“That’s construction, not on stream… If we are fortunate enough to land some interesting acquisitions, we can exceed that,” he said.
“We’re looking across the country, especially in Visayas and Mindanao -- the two areas need new power plants.”
Conventional energy resources like coal and natural gas will provide bulk of the target capacity, while renewable energy -- much of it from hydro resources -- will account for just a fifth.
“We want to have a balanced portfolio between thermal and traditional load and renewable technology,” Mr. Francia said.
“About 200 MW will be from renewable energy… and it’s gonna be predominantly greenfield hydro power. At least that’s our aspiration,” he added.
He stressed that steps in renewable energy will be measured.
“We’re really pushing hydro. For now, all hydro will be with Sta. Clara (Corp.) -- about 100 MW or so -- where AC Energy will be 70% owner,” Mr. Francia said.
“We’re also keen on wind, but over time. We are not in a hurry. We already have NorthWind,” he added, referring to NorthWind Power Development Corp. which owns and operates the 33-MW wind farm located in Bangui, Ilocos Norte.
“Solar, it really depends. We have predevelopment plan for 30-50 MW, but given the FIT (feed in tariff) rate we need to revisit if it’s feasible -- it is very challenged,” he continued.
Solar energy suffered the biggest cut in proposed FIT rate. The Energy Regulatory Commission last July 27 approved lower-than-proposed FIT rates for four renewable power resources with solar being the most expensive at P9.68 per kilowatt-hour (kWh), but also suffering the biggest reduction from a proposed P17.95/kWh.
The others were: P5.90/kWh (from a proposed P6.15/kWh) for run-of-river hydro; P6.63/kWh (from P7.00/kWh) for biomass; and P8.53/kWh (from P10.37/kWh) for wind.
The FIT rate for ocean thermal energy conversion resource was deferred for further study and data gathering.
AC Energy is being positioned to be a key contributor to Ayala Corp. revenues in five to 10 years, Mr. Francia said.
“Our aspiration is to make it one of the major legs five to 10 years down the road,” he said, recalling “it took Manila Water (Company, Inc.) quite some time to get to where it is today.”
Ayala Corp. reported last Aug. 11 that profits grew 23.7% to P6.1 billion in the first half from P4.93 billion in the same period last year.
Major contributors to the conglomerate’s performance were property unit Ayala Land, Inc. (whose profits rose 28% annually to P4.3 billion); Bank of the Philippine Islands (up 52% to P9.4 billion); Manila Water (31% up to P2.6 billion); and chipmaker Integrated Microelectronics, Inc. (which saw net income more than double to $3.1 million).
“Hopefully our contributions will be in that order in five to 10 years,” Mr. Francia said.
Shares of Ayala Corp. ended yesterday’s trades at P417.60 each, P4.60 or 1.0895% less than Wednesday’s close of P422.22.
Read article source in Business World Online