Environment managementsystem & procedures

Our ESG Policy serves as our pillar in developing and operating our plants which guides us on how we integrate sustainability in our decision-making, strategy, capital allocation, operations, governance and culture.

Alongside our Health, Safety, Security and Environment (HSSE) policy, we commit to the efficient use of our resources, implementing systems and initiatives to monitor emissions and energy use, reduce waste generation and water usage, as well as apply a circular approach throughout the lifecycle of materials we use. For example, our North Luzon Renewables (NLR) and NorthWind (NW) projects have implemented baselining of greenhouse gas emissions, waste generation and water usage through installation of water meters, subject to regular calibration for precise measurements. Continuous monitoring and trend analysis were performed on the collected data and will serve as basis for the reduction projects in the following years.

The 81 MW North Luzon Renewables (NLR) integrates resource efficiency initiatives including baselining of GHG emissions, waste generation and water usage.

As of 2023, 100 percent of ACEN’s Plant Operations in the Philippines have achieved the coveted Integrated Management System (IMS) certification on Environmental Management System (EMS) ISO 14001:2015. This certification provides a framework to help organizations identify, manage, monitor and improve their environmental performance in a systematic manner, as verified by DQS Certification Philippines, Inc. It also enables us to have more efficient and streamlined processes, enhance compliance, improve risk management, increase stakeholder confidence, have more sustainable practices, and induce continuous improvement.

Part of our plant operations’ quality management procedures is to ensure plant employees receive proper training on the implementation of the EMS as it is subject to external compliance audits. Regular environmental impact audits are conducted annually across all our operational sites that are ISO-certified. These audits take into consideration the management of waste and water.

Waste management

During the early development phase of our 120 MW Alaminos Solar in Laguna, Philippines, we integrated a plastic recycling facility to collect plastic waste and upcycle them into eco-bricks, which were used in building the solar plant facilities.

Our plants implement waste management initiatives customized to their operations, all of which are ultimately aligned to our commitment to sustainably manage and utilize natural resources in line with country regulatory policies and with reference to international standards*

In developing project environmental and social management plans, we integrate efforts to minimize, reduce and reuse waste throughout the life cycle of our projects. We also ensure that appropriate onsite materials recovery facilities are present in each project site and appropriate waste management procedures per country of operation are implemented.

In the Philippines, we are the first renewable energy company to implement an integrated circular approach in our solar developments. With a strong focus on sustainability, we continue to engage multiple stakeholders across various phases of our value chain from the plant’s development stage to its commercial operations. This helps us reframe workstreams on plant waste management and integrate our circularity framework into Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contracts.

*IFC Standard 3 Resource Efficiency and Pollution Prevention (2012)

Scaling up ourcircularity approach

We have improved our circularity efforts through Green Antz Builders, Inc. (Green Antz) by collecting plastic waste packaging from solar panels and the community and upcycling them into eco-bricks to be used as construction materials to build key facilities in our ongoing solar and wind developments.

Since piloting the circularity approach in Alaminos Solar in 2019, we have successfully replicated it in three other solar farms, namely Palauig Solar 1, SanMar Solar and Pangasinan Solar. In total, close to 52,000 kg of plastic waste from these four solar farms have been converted into ~380, 000 eco-bricks*, equivalent weight of 38 compact size cars.

Approximately ~73,000 of these eco-products have been integrated into the construction of substation parameter walls and control buildings inside our solar and wind projects in Laguna, Zambales, Pangasinan and Ilocos Norte. Such efforts helped prevent more plastic waste from going into landfills.

The project sites that were successful in diverting plastic waste from landfills shall receive waste diversion certificates from our circularity partner, Green Antz, which shall form part of Self-Monitoring Reports (SMRs) and Compliance Monitoring Reports (CMRs) on waste management submitted to DENR.

Integrating circularity in our home market:
From development to operations, our circularity strategy is integrated into five of our renewable energy projects in the Philippines.

Read more about how we’re
championing ESG in our sustainability roadmap

Read more about how we’re aspiring for environmental
management excellence through our ESG Policy

Water management

To address the water footprint of our corporate and suppliers’ sites, we use water efficiently by transitioning from freshwater to alternative sources, discharging used water responsibly, and pursuing water stewardship to keep watersheds healthy. For water-related and other material issues, we implement a uniform stakeholder engagement process in the development and operations of our sites.

In our Philippine solar plants, rainwater harvesting systems have been installed to serve as an alternative water source for activities such as PV module cleaning and house load needs. MonteSol and SacaSol have worked to reduce their water impact even further by utilizing automated cleaning machines. In addition to the rainwater harvesting systems, Palauig Solar 1 also implements a waste conservation program wherein employees are informed on responsible water use.

In Ilocos Norte, NLR and NorthWind initiated baseline monitoring of water usage through the installation of water meters across the facility. This data will be our basis for targeted water reduction efforts in the coming years.

Our thermal plants in La Union, Subic and Bulacan have employed various water-saving projects to maximize water usage. La Union Thermal has a fabricated water basin aimed to collect water drained from engine-cooling during maintenance activities. The collected water is recycled back into the engine-cooling system, effectively reducing water consumption. On the other hand, Subic Thermal has enhanced its machinery to prevent any water leakage and overflow. A ”Save the Water Bodies” project has also been initiated across the Subic and Bulacan Thermal wherein employees participate in activities such as coastal and mangrove clean-ups.

In Indonesia, Salak & Darajat Geothermal, through our partner Star Energy Geothermal, optimizes water use by replacing surface water with condensate water for production and maintenance activities.

Aside from water treatment and cooling before discharge, we also conduct periodic testing for harmful substances to properly maintain the marine ecosystem. The risk of water scarcity is mitigated by our development strategy which focuses on the development of renewable energy of which technologies are generally not dependent on the availability of water for their main operation. Furthermore, since our portfolio, comprised primarily of renewable energy, does not require water intensive activities, the company is not exposed to water-related risks on regulatory changes and pricing structure.

In Alaminos Solar, we employ a strict implementation of turning off machinery and equipment when not in use as well as the installation of energy efficiency signages. Up North in NLR and NorthWind, energy efficiency measures include adopting a setpoint of 24°C in offices, as recommended by Energy Auditors, resulting in a 6 percent reduction in energy consumption for every degree Celsius.

Operational efficiency enhancements involve the implementation of a high wind ride-through activation for SGRE Turbines last 2022, increasing the cut-out wind speed from 25 m/s to 32 m/s, optimizing energy generation.

In our thermal plants, energy-saving programs have been implemented through the installation of energy efficient lighting and policies that promote responsible energy consumption. Furthermore, proactive maintenance measures such as the replacement of pistons and liners have led to optimized engine performance and reduced hydrocarbon emissions.

End-of-life management

Part of our commitment to managing our key environmental impacts throughout the lifecycle of our projects is to ensure that we adhere to best-in-class standards on waste management. This applies to business ethics, labor practices, employee health & safety, water & waste management, materials sourcing, efficiency, product design and lifecycle management.

In developing new projects, we ensure that our Engineering Procurement and Construction
(EPC) contractors adhere to our ESG policy and management system. As part of the selection and monitoring process, our EPC contractors comply with applicable standards provided by International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards and ISO standards.

Furthermore, for solar projects, our EPC contractors provide appropriate waste management methodologies for the disposal of PV panels, recommend accredited treatments, storage and disposal facilities within areas of operation including cost estimates needed for each waste management procedure. At the operational phase, we incorporate end-of-life plans in compliance with national regulations.

In Texas, U.S.A., our joint venture with PivotGen and UPC Solar & Wind Investments aims to extend the efficiencies of existing wind farms, increasing their output while lowering the cost of operation

For wind projects, we continuously explore strategies to extend the useful life of existing wind farms. In the U.S.A., through UPC Power Solutions LLC, our joint venture with PivotGen and UPC Solar & Wind Investments which acquired the 136 MW Stockyard Wind in Texas, we are extending the useful life of existing wind farms through preventative maintenance and repowering.

As we scale up our renewable capacity, we explore partnerships and technologies in developing a comprehensive solar and wind end-of-life management plan. This will allow end-of-life plans to be tailor-made to address the structural specifications, stakeholder concerns and environmental conditions of the project site.