ACEN creates opportunities to lower its environmental footprint through the reduction and recirculation of natural resources used throughout the life cycle of its power plants.

To address the large amount of plastic waste produced during solar plant construction, we are working toward making construction sites plastic waste-free by pioneering circular approach initiatives. Through these efforts, plastic waste collected from solar module packaging is recycled into eco-bricks, which are used to build the solar plant facilities.

During the pilot phase of our circular approach solutions, more than 32,540 kg of plastic collected from our Alaminos solar plant, or the equivalent of about 25 compact size cars, was sent to our partner recycling facility, Green Antz.

In 2021, a total of 24,295 eco-bricks were used in the construction of our solar plant facilities. Such efforts helped limit the amount of plastic waste sent to landfill by diverting a further 3,280 kg.

To further strengthen its Circular Economy Framework, ACEN partnered with Green Antz to put up a Community Eco Hub in the municipality of Piddig, Ilocos Norte, following the successful integration of the Eco Hub project in our 120 MW Alaminos Solar farm. The facility is a collaboration among ACEN’s two wind farms, North Luzon Renewables and NorthWind, and the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte. The Community Eco Hub will upcycle plastic wastes from our plants and nearby communities into eco-bricks.

The operational framework of the Community Eco Hub is designed to involve local communities in awareness trainings and campaigns, plastic waste collection, plastic waste processing, marketing, selling of eco-products to local suppliers, and profit sharing. This program will not only help manage the issues of community plastic waste but will also create green jobs and promote eco-preneurship in the community. More Community Eco Hubs are in the pipeline for development across our renewable energy plants.

Plant End-of-life Management

At present, ACEN proactively aligns with the best available practices on PV module waste management. We also partner with EPC contractors that are certified members of the PV Cycle Association, a global industry-based organization that provides businesses with sustainable waste management solutions aligned with the European Waste Shipment Regulation and the Basel Convention. The company adopts the PV Cycle system to ensure proper treatment measures are set in place to cover discarded end-of-life PV modules as well as modules damaged during transportation or installation. The PV Cycle is a voluntary mechanism to implement take back and recycling programs for PV modules.

For wind projects, we develop decommissioning plans aligned with the regulatory requirements of the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR). The content of each decommissioning plan is tailor-made to address the structural specifications as well as the stakeholder concerns of each specific wind project. Possible interventions under the company’s decommissioning plans may include circular approaches to recycling or reusing wind turbine blades to the benefit of adjacent communities. As the activities of each plan shall be performed no less than 20 years from creation, the company will continue to monitor for best practices on wind turbine end-of-life management.

Water Stewardship

Water is an essential shared resource and vital to our operations. To address the water footprint of our corporate and suppliers’ sites, we aim to use water efficiently, transition from freshwater to alternative sources, discharge used water responsibly, and pursue water stewardship to keep watersheds healthy.

In 2021 ACEN’s Total Water Withdrawal reached 257,437,958.44 cubic meters while Total Water Consumption reached 180,984.21 cubic meters. Water Withdrawal was mainly driven by the cooling water system of SLTEC which draws and discharges seawater from Balayan Bay. To maintain the marine ecosystem, periodic testing for harmful substances is conducted in addition to water treatment and cooling prior to discharge.

In our 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. These water harvesting systems can collect an average of 751,550 liters across four different solar plants. MonteSol and SacaSol have worked to reduce their water impact even further by utilizing automated cleaning machines. These machines clean the panels with more efficiency and less time. More importantly, they have reduced the amount of water utilized per cleaning cycle from an average of 480 cubic meters to only 69 cubic meters. Meanwhile, in Indonesia the Darajat Geothermal plant through our partner Star Energy, continuously optimizes water use by replacing surface water with condensate water for production and maintenance activities.

In the latter part of the year, with the devastating impact of Typhoon Odette (Rai) and the trail of destruction that it left across six regions in Visayas and Mindanao, ACEN, launched a series of relief efforts for the affected communities, including the installation of a water filtration system within its Negros plant to provide drinking water to the locals.

Health, Safety, Security and Environment Policy

Guided by the Health, Safety, Security and Environment (HSSE) Policy, ACEN looks to proactively implement programs to manage environmental risks and impacts associated with the company’s plant operations. Programs for the efficient use and consumption of fuel, energy, and water are promoted across ACEN’s different sites. The company also understands that solid and hazardous wastes will inevitably be generated during operations. Thus, ACEN will seek to adopt a Waste Management Program to implement proper handling, storage, and disposal of wastes. Through the HSSE Policy, ACEN institutes procedures for the management, mitigation, testing and monitoring of air emissions in compliance with legal requirements. Procedures for wastewater usage, quality monitoring and discharge shall also be in place, in compliance with local regulations.

Integrated Management System Certification

ACEN is committed to the highest industry standards of Environmental Management System for its domestic plants. As of May 2022, 75% of ACEN’s domestic plants have been certified with the Integrated Management System (ISO 9001 Quality Management, ISO 14001 Environmental Management, and ISO 45001 Occupational Health & Safety Management) with the remaining domestic plants to undergo a certification process by end of the year.