Clean energy group hails Ayala move to ditch coal, dares others to follow

The Power for People Coalition (P4P) on Tuesday welcomed the announcement of the Ayala Corporation that it will fully divest itself of coal investments by 2030 and expressed its hope that other generation companies (GenCos) in the country will follow.

In a message to stockholders, Ayala Corporation chair Fernando Zobel de Ayala said that the corporation’s energy arm, AC Energy Philippines, is “making a commitment to transition to a lower carbon portfolio by rebalancing our generation portfolio to grow our renewable energy assets.”

“The Power for People Coalition considers the announcement of the Ayala Corporation to be a major victory in the movement against coal. AC is one of the country’s largest investors in coal and this decision shows that divesting from coal can be a sound business strategy that San Miguel, Meralco, and Aboitiz can follow,” said P4P Convenor Gerry Arances.

However, the clean energy advocate cautioned against being too optimistic at this point, considering that divestment of the Ayalas might simply mean the assets will be transferred to other corporations, as it did in 2018 when it sold its coal power plants to Aboitiz.

“We should see if there will actually be an effect on the proportion of coal in the country’s energy mix. After all, Ayala can just sell its dirty investments to other companies, which will clean its portfolio but not really reduce coal emissions in the country,” said Arances.

Arances said that this is the best possible news for Earth Day, as coal remains one of the greatest sources of greenhouse gas emissions which cause global warming.

“If Ayala Corporation can make good on its promise, and it does not transfer its coal assets to other companies but rather shuts them down completely, then this is a real, tangible improvement in our coal situation. Ayala Corporation would have then made a truly significant impact in improving our environment,” said Arances.