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AC Energy’s windmills in Bangui. Ilocos Norte in northern Philippines.
AC Energy—a unit of billionaire Jaime Zobel de Ayal’s Ayala Corp.—is investing 14 billion pesos ($274 million) to fund the solar and wind energy projects of two subsidiaries as the Philippines’ oldest conglomerate continues to deepen its investments in renewable energy.
The company will inject 7 billion pesos each in Santa Cruz Solar Energy Inc. and Bayog Wind Power Corp. to bankroll the two subsidiaries’ renewable energy projects, AC Energy said Wednesday in separate regulatory filings.
Santa Cruz Solar is developing a 283-megawatt solar farm in Zambales province, about 255 kilometers north of the Philippine capital of Manila. This will be the country’s largest solar farm and its capacity could potentially be expanded to as much as 700 megawatts, AC Energy said.
Separately, Bayog Wind is building a 160-megawatt wind farm further up north in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, it said. AC Energy also owns the 52-megawatt wind farm in Bangui, Ilocos Norte, which started commercial operations in 2005.
AC Energy has been stepping up its investments in renewable projects, building over 2,800 megawatts of attributable capacity across Australia, India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam and aims to boost the capacity to 5,000 megawatts by 2025. The investments in these projects will help AC Energy fulfill its goal of becoming the largest listed renewable energy platform in Southeast Asia, chairman Fernando Zobel de Ayala said in the company’s latest annual report.
To support the group’s renewable energy projects, the firm has raised $1 billion in 2021 from the issuance of green bonds, a rights issue, a follow on offering and a private placement to Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC.
AC is about 72% owned by Ayala Corp., which traces its roots to 1834 when the country was a colony of Spain. Fernando’s great grandfather started a distillery in Manila and then expanded into banking, hotels, real estate and telecommunications.
Fernando’s father Jaime Zobel de Ayala, 87, was ranked the country’s fifth-richest person with a net worth of $3.3 billion when the list of the Philippines’ 50 Richest was published in September. The older Ayala retired in 2006, and his eldest son Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, who had been the CEO of Ayala Corp. since 1994, succeeded him as chairman. In April this year, Fernando took over as CEO and Jaime Augusto continues to serve as chairman.