by The Standard Business – June 04, 2016 at 11:10 pm
from Manila Standard Today
About 293 hectares within the 625-hectare site of Ayala’s wind farm in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, will once more grow into lush protected land. This is expected as AC Energy Holdings’ wind unit, North Luzon Renewables, enters the third year of its reforestation program in Barangay Caparispisan this year.
“Maintaining and protecting the lush flora of Pagudpud is highly important to us,” said AC Energy president and chief executive John Eric Francia.
“Pagudpud is one of the most visited seaside towns in the country, because of its natural beauty, so we are well aware of our responsibility to nourish and protect its forests, sustain its water resources, and protect its ecosystems. In the process, we are also collaborating with local communities to generate more green jobs,” Francia said.
In partnership with the Ilocos Norte provincial government, the wind farm began producing and planting various seedlings in 2014. The first major goal of the effort is to produce 350,000 seedlings and plant 205,000 within three years.
The remaining seedlings will then be distributed to other local governments and nearby communities to support similar tree-planting efforts and the government’s National Greening Program. Since the pre-construction, the wind farm has generated 1,900 employment opportunities for many locals who now work as plant nursery staff, forest guards, maintenance and stockyard workers and civil works personnel.
AC Energy has committed to grow its renewable and conventional energy portfolio and over the past three years it has committed over $700 million to meet baseload demand as well as develop alternative clean power.
Together with North Luzon Renewables’ 81 MW wind farm in Pagudpud, AC Energy has expanded its wind farm in Bangui, Ilocos Norte, under Northwind Power Development Corp., to generate a total of 52 MW, bringing AC Energy’s total wind energy capacity to 133 MW, the second largest in the country today.
In the Visayas, AC Energy is likewise expanding its renewable portfolio. In September 2015, it entered into a partnership agreement with Bronzeoak Clean Energy Inc. for the development, construction and operation of a P1.3-billion solar power farm in Bais City, Negros Oriental. Completed in February 2016, the solar power farm has a capacity of 18 MW in the first phase. The second phase will involve the expansion of the solar power farm to a targeted total of 50 MW.
Aside from its reforestation program in Pagudpud, the company is implementing numerous corporate social responsibility projects in Ilocos Norte also in collaboration with the provincial government. These include programs in education, health and sanitation and infrastructure. Notably, North Luzon Renewables has established a Manpower Response program in Barangay Caparispisan.
This taps the local knowledge and strength of town residents, who now provide immediate support to households who may be affected by the operation of the wind farm. In 2016, the company will also establish a community-based disaster risk reduction management program to address community needs arising from typhoons and other natural disasters.
“The generation of clean energy, such as our wind farm investment in Pagudpud and our solar power farm in Negros, naturally encourages the growth of other complementary green programs, whether they are in forest protection, farming, and other forms of livelihood associated with environmental protection,” said Francia.
“We hope to continue, where possible, to build on our existing renewable energy platforms in the future,” he said.
AC Energy currently has a total attributable capacity of 650 MW in conventional and renewable projects. The company expects this capacity to reach over 1,000 MW by 2016.
AC Energy Holdings Inc. is the development arm of the Ayala group in the energy sector. The company is building a portfolio of power generation assets using renewable and conventional technologies.
North Luzon Renewables is a joint venture of AC Energy, UPC Philippines Wind, Mitsubishi Corp.’s DGA and Philippine Investment Alliance for Infrastructure Fund. The company’s wind farm in Pagudpud started commercial operations on Nov. 11, 2014.