Australia’s Aboriginal people partner with PH RE company

By: Marcelle P. Villegas April 01, 2024

Australia recently launched one of their largest indigenous-led renewable energy project.  Australia’s First Nations Yindjibarndi people have partnered with ACEN, a Philippine renewables company, to develop and operate renewable energy projects in Western Australia.

In the Philippines, ACEN is one of the subsidiaries of the Ayala Corporation and is the Philippine Stock Exchange listed energy platform of the Ayala Group. The company has ~4,800 MW of attributable capacity from owned facilities in the Philippines, Australia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and India with a renewable share of 99%. This percentage is among the highest in the region.

The Yindjibarndi are an Aboriginal Australian people of the Pilbara region in Western Australia. Their traditional lands are located around the Fortescue River.

Her Excellency HK Yu PSM FCPA (Aust), Australian Ambassador to the Philippines stated, “What ACEN and the Yindjibarndi group are doing is fully aligned with the Strategic Partnership between Australia and the Philippines. We are happy to collaborate and work together to ensure that the partnership is mutually beneficial and sustainable.”

The Yindjibarndi people and ACEN will work together on wind, solar, and renewable energy projects on Yindjibarndi Ngurra.  This area is approximately 13,000 km2 within Yindjibarndi’s exclusive native title land in Australia. The partnership will be through Yindjibarndi Energy Corporation (YEC).

YEC is targeting to generate 750 MW of combined wind, solar, and battery storage under construction within the next few years. The investment will be more than PHP 36 billion. The energy that they will produce will be for domestic and export markets. For the next stages of the project, their goal is an additional 2 GW to 3 GW of combined wind, solar, and battery storage.

The leadership of YEC includes Anton Rohner, ACEN-appointed director and chairman, and Craig Ricato, Yindjibarndi-appointed director and CEO of YEC.  

Ricato stated, “This partnership between ACEN and the Yindjibarndi People was built on shared values. ACEN were genuine in their interactions with the Yinjibarndi people – they were honest about their intentions and listened to what the Traditional Owners needed. This made the Yindjibarndi comfortable around ACEN’s people and put them in good standing to negotiate the terms of the partnership agreement.”

ACEN International CEO Patrice Clausse said, “We feel deeply honored by the trust that Australia’s Yindjibarndi community has given us to work collaboratively with them. The Pilbara region is home to some of the largest industrial energy users globally, many of whom have expressed their desire to transition to a carbon-neutral future. We are actively engaged in promising dialogues with potential off-take customers to purchase the renewable energy.”

ACEN has established a solid footprint in Australia’s renewable energy sector, contributing significantly to the country’s clean energy transition and sustainability goals.

The Australian Embassy in the Philippines is supporting ACEN with market information and opportunities.

Clausse also noted, “Australian investment advisors in the Philippines and Australia are helping us keep up to date with developments in Australia’s growing renewable energy sector and sharing information on investment opportunities.”

“They are also pivotal in helping us connect with government representatives at federal and state levels.”

ACEN executives and Australian Ambassador to the Philippines HK Yu PSM, FCPA (Aust) welcome Yindijibarndi delegation on their first visit to the Philippines.


Its partnership with the Yindjibarndi is not its first with First Nations groups on energy projects in Australia. In March 2023, the renewable energy firm launched in New South Wales the first stage of its New England solar project. As part of this project, ACEN has partnered with the local Anaiwan people to ensure culturally significant areas located on the project site are protected for future generations.


Photo source: Courtesy of Australian Embassy in the Philippines

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