Biodiversity is important to us. We all depend on our natural resources, and the continued decline and degradation of our environment has been alarming.
While we scale up our renewables development to help other industry sectors catch up with the energy transition, we are mindful of our own environmental impact. Guided by our Environmental and Social Policy and Management System, we assess future projects by identifying their direct impact on biodiversity.
We reference best-practice mitigation hierarchy guidelines to shape the biodiversity plans we develop in our sites. Furthermore, mitigation measures will be designed to achieve no net loss, including identifying and protection of set-asides, and/or restoring habitat during and/or after operations. We develop a biodiversity plan, not only to mitigate potentially significant impacts, but most importantly, to enhance biodiversity that will also create a meaningful impact to our host communities.
In Ilocos Norte, the forests that we protect have become an important habitat to 146 animal species, including 121 bird species (including four from International Union for Conservation (IUCN)’s red list of threatened species, namely: the Philippine dwarf-Kingfisher, Philippine duck, Philippine collared-dove, and Java sparrow), seven species of snakes, seven species of bats (two of which are endemic to Luzon, namely: the greater musky fruit bat and the Philippine forest horseshoe bat), four species of rodents (including the giant cloud rat, which is endemic to Northern Luzon), one species of shrew, one species of lizard, two other mammals species including the common palm civet and the Philippine long-tailed Macaque (included in IUCN’s list of near threatened species), and three species of reptiles (included in IUCN’s red list, namely: olive ridley sea turtle, green sea turtle and hawksbill sea turtle).
Through our biodiversity conservation project in the province, a state-of-the-art, bioacoustics deterrence system was put in place to continuously monitor and help prevent potential harm to wildlife during the operations of the wind farm.
The forest patches inside our wind farms in Ilocos Norte serve as home to 117 species of birds, seven species of bats, seven species of snakes, and four species of rodents – one of which is the endemic Northern Luzon giant cloud rat. To properly monitor the ecological health of our area within Ilocos Norte, the Company has invested in studies to assess the baseline biodiversity indicators. ACEN continues to conserve the area through a comprehensive forest protection program. Furthermore, a state-of-the-art bioacoustics deterrence system was put in place to help prevent potential harm to wildlife in the operations of the wind farms.
To further improve habitat management and protection of the Northern Luzon giant cloud rat and the Philippine duck within the Conservation Estate, an in-depth study to assess the distribution, density and behavior of the species was conducted through North Luzon Renewables’ (NLR) biodiversity senior environment consultant. The result of the study recommends monitoring and mitigation measures for the identified threats towards the two species such as conducting information, education, and communication (IEC) campaigns on biodiversity conservation with wind farm biodiversity and forestry groups and nearby host communities. A wildlife enclosure will also be constructed in 2023 to support rescue and rehabilitation efforts for injured fauna found in the wind farm.
We collaborated with several biodiversity experts, namely: University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute, University of the Philippines Los Baños College of Forestry and Natural Resources, Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines, Geosphere Technologies, Inc, Consultation team of Dr. Jayson Ibanez, and in-house experts of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to help us develop the methodologies, metrics and execution of plans.
Our collaborations with different stakeholders have resulted in 32 Pawikan nests recorded, 41 Pawikan rescued and released, and ~1,900 Pawikan hatchlings released to the sea since 2013. We are also looking at increasing local and tourist awareness on sea turtle conservation through future activities at our Pawikan Information Center.
Outside the Philippines, ACEN Australia collaborates with the government and other renewable energy and forestry industries to fund a four-year Eagle Conservation Program.
Led by the University of Tasmania through an Australian Research Council Linkage Project Grant, the program supports vital research into conservation activities to protect Tasmania’s unique eagles including the Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagle.
In Indonesia, Salak and Darajat Geothermal, a consortium between ACEN and Star Energy, through its “Eye on the Forest” biodiversity program, targets to increase the population of key animal species such as the leopard, Javan gibbon, and the Javan eagle in Mount Halimun Salak National Park.
ACEN recognizes that the protection and restoration of natural ecosystems will help mitigate climate risks and limit global warming to below 1.5°C, while bringing additional environmental and social benefits. Trees play a crucial role as nature’s solution for removing carbon dioxide from the air, storing it, and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere. As of 2022, ACEN has protected ~2,100 hectares of natural habitat areas and planted ~731,000 trees across 20 sites. This is equivalent to over 100,000 metric tons of carbon sink per year* and represents a 73% completion of our target to plant 1 million trees by 2025.
In 2022, ACEN worked with UP Marine Science Institute to conduct a carbon assessment for a potential blue carbon site. We are also collaborating with UP Los Baños College of Forestry and Natural Resources to reassess the carbon sequestration of our Conservation Estate Program in Ilocos Norte.
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