Volkswagen is Back in Manila

Fernando Zobel de Ayala, president and COO of Ayala Corporation, and Weiming Soh, Volkswagen president for commercial operations in Greater China/ASEAN, led the celebration marking the return of Volkswagen to the Philippines.

More than 400 guests, including members of the Volkswagen China/ASEAN Executive Committee and board directors and senior officers of the Ayala group, attended the brand launch held on September 27 at Ayala’s headquarters at Tower One in Makati.

The brand launch was followed by the People’s Car Celebration on September 28 to 29 at Greenbelt, where the public participated in a number of interactive exhibits and viewed nine models of Volkswagen. The celebration culminated in the raffle of the first-ever 21st Century Beetle in the Philippines.

Ayala Automotive Holdings Corporation is the official distributor of Volkswagen passenger vehicles in the Philippines. Its first dealership in Bonifacio Global City is now open.

Caparispisan Wind Energy Project Breaks Ground

Northern Luzon UPC Asia Corporation (NLUPC) has officially commenced construction of the 81-megawatt Caparispisan Wind Energy Project in the municipality of Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte. NLUPC is the joint-venture company established in July by Ayala’s energy investment arm AC Energy Holdings Inc, the Philippine Investment Alliance for Infrastructure (PINAI), and UPC Philippines Wind Holdco. The company is tasked with developing wind power projects in the province of Ilocos Norte.

The groundbreaking ceremony held on September 3 in Sitio Ayoyo was attended by representatives of the national and local governments led by Department of Energy Assistant Secretary Daniel Ariaso (on behalf of Secretary Jericho Petilla), Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, Pagudpud Mayor Marlon Sales, and Vice Mayor Rex Benemerito. They were met by heads of the project proponents and partners, including AC Energy President Eric Francia and CFO Ned Goseco, UPC Chairman Brian Caffyn and Managing Director Troels Carstensen, and Macquarie Managing Director Michael Rodriguez on behalf of PINAI.

“Ilocos can really solidify itself as the wind capital of the Philippines,” said Francia to members of the local communities who witnessed the event. “We are very proud to be a partner of the government, both provincial and local, to make this a reality and to maximize the resources that you are very much blessed with in this part of the country.”

Governor Marcos expressed full confidence in the project’s impact on the province not only in power generation but also by way of jobs creation and corporate social responsibility programs. “Certainly the area of energy, particularly wind, has been a genuine windfall for the province and we welcome all the resources, technology, and the production of energy in the province,” she said. “You can count on us for full support.

There are many synergies that can be derived, indeed, if public and private partnerships can be launched. We are hopeful that this will provide yet another template and another pioneering effort for Ilocos Norte in renewable energy.”

Ariaso underscored the importance of the support of host communities in the success of renewable energy projects: “The impact may not necessarily be early, so it is for all of us, especially the LGUs, to help the project through.”

The Caparispisan wind farm, which may have up to 32 wind turbines, is NLUPC’s first project. It has an investment value of up to $250 million, and the initial phase is expected to be connected to the grid by mid-2014. Aside from the Caparispisan wind farm, the joint venture company has a portfolio of over 200 megawatts in wind energy projects under development.

Since 2011, AC Energy has committed over $400 million of equity in conventional and renewable energy technologies. PINAI is a P26-billion fund comprised of the GSIS, Dutch pension fund asset manager APG, the Asian Development Bank, and the Macquarie Group. UPC Philippines is a wholly owned company of UPC Renewables Partners, which has nearly 20 years of experience in developing and operating wind farms in Europe, USA, and Asia.