Ayala energy platform urges responsible way of retiring coal plants

Ayala energy platform urges responsible way of retiring coal plants

AYALA-LED ACEN Corp. has called for a responsible way of replacing traditional power plants with renewable energy sources to avoid supply disruptions.

“Basically, to replace up in a responsible manner the coal, we need renewables — solar and wind — we estimate that this will require a thousand megawatts,” ACEN President and Chief Executive Officer Eric T. Francia said during a side event of the United Nation’s Conference of the Parties in Dubai.

“But we also need to incorporate energy storage at least four to six hours so as to not negatively impact the grid,” he added.

Mr. Francia was referring to ACEN’s energy transition program and roadmap for the early retirement of its subsidiary’s 246-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant in a bid to accelerate energy transition.

“As part of this commitment to 100% renewables, we have to do a responsible divestment of power plants because that was the major asset that was in our portfolio mix,” he said.

ACEN’s “just energy transition” initiative was developed to outline the early retirement of South Luzon Thermal Energy Corp.’s (SLTEC) coal power plant via technical assistance support from Coal Asset Transition Accelerator in partnership with Climate Smart Ventures.

The 246-MW coal plant in Batangas was the only coal plant in ACEN’s portfolio.

Through its program, SLTEC’s coal power plant will be decommissioned as early as 2030, which is a decade ahead of its current retirement date.

According to ACEN, the initiative could reduce 15 to 25 years’ worth of emissions given that coal plants typically operate for 40 to 50 years.

In July last year, ACEN approved the divestment of all its shares in SLTEC through an energy transition financing, which was expected to secure P3.7 billion in fresh funds.

“I recognize the vast impact of this not only for ACEN, not only for the Philippines but the global landscape,” Mr. Francia said.

He said that the energy replacement needs to be done responsibly, especially if it is to accelerate the timeline.

SLTEC’s power plant typically generates 1,800 gigawatt-hours of output, Mr. Francia said, which is around 2% of the country’s needs.

The energy transition initiative is in line with ACEN’s aspiration to reach 20 gigawatts of renewables by 2030, 100% renewable generation by 2025, and net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 or earlier. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera