GREEN POWER. The San Carlos solar power plant in Negros Occidental stretches across a 75-hectare property inside the San Carlos Ecozone at Barangay Punao.
GREEN POWER. The San Carlos solar power plant in Negros Occidental stretches across a 75-hectare property inside the San Carlos Ecozone at Barangay Punao.

Cover Story

Cleanergy: AboitizPower commits to the Renewable Energy Development Program

June 30, 2016


It was a bright and sunny day, the perfect backdrop of a historic event in San Carlos City, a component city of Negros Occidental in Western Visayas. Nestled inside the 75-hectare San Carlos Ecozone in Barangay Punao, are the neatly lined solar panels that glimmer with newness as the sun’s ray hit their surface. Nearby, a crowd of 300 people gathered to witness the much awaited switch-on of AboitizPower’s 59-MWp solar power plant.

The solar power generating facility is the latest renewable energy project added to the list of Cleanergy, AboitizPower’s brand that houses the company’s portfolio of clean and renewable energy assets that include hydro, geothermal, now solar and soon biomass.

Through its subsidiary, San Carlos Sun Power, Inc. (SacaSun), AboitizPower now operate sits first solar power plant. SacaSun delivers clean and renewable power to the Visayas grid producing over 82,000 gigawatt hours of clean energy, enough to power 33,000 homes and to offset 44,000 tons of carbon emissions over 20 years, the equivalent of taking around 10,000 cars off the road.

During his speech, President Aquino thanked AboitizPower’s renewable energy projects, which contribute to the government’s goal of increasing renewable energy-based capacity to 15,304 MW by 2030 under the Philippine Energy Plan (PEP) 2010-2030.

“I’m hopeful that Aboitiz will remain a consistent partner and continue its trend of working with the government, investing in the Filipino, and helping shape A Better Future for mankind,” Pres. Aquino said.

AboitizPower is one of the country’s largest producers of renewable energy. Together with its partners, the Cleanergy portfolio generates 1,263 MW, which is 38% of AboitizPower’s total net sellable capacity. This demonstrates AboitizPower’s commitment to support the government’s push for a balance of renewable and non-renewable power sources to address the country’s increasing energy demand.

In his message, AboitizPower CEO Erramon I. Aboitiz reiterated the company’s commitment to support the country’s energy development program. “With all the combined and continued support of our partners and stakeholders, we will continue to provide a sustainable solution for our country’s growing demand for power, and to energize the dreams and hopes of our fellow Filipinos for A Better Future,” he said.

“With all the combined and continued support of our partners and stakeholders, we will continue to provide a sustainable solution for our country’s growing demand for power, and to energize the dreams and hopes of our fellow Filipinos for A Better Future.”


—Erramon I. Aboitiz, CEO, AboitizPower



Partner in Renewable Energy Development

AboitizPower’s early investments in renewable energy started with the run-of-river hydropower plants developed and operated by its subsidiary Hedcor. Irisan 3 plant is the first plant owned by Hedcor in Benguet commissioned in June 1991. Throughout the years, AboitizPower has acquired and developed more renewable power plants that complement its balanced mix portfolio of power assets, supplying electricity to a growing nation.

Binga hydroelectric power facility
Binga hydroelectric power facility
Tiwi Geothermal Power Plant
Tiwi Geothermal Power Plant

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Today, AboitizPower’s net sellable capacity stands at 38% renewable energy, a ratio which is higher than the country’s energy mix at 32% or 5,324 MW of dependable capacity as of December 2015. Given its balanced mix of renewable and non-renewable energy sources, AboitizPower is uniquely positioned to provide customers with their choice of the right power solution that is reliable, reasonably priced and has the least impact on the environment. This means addressing the power needs for baseload, intermediate and peaking loads, as well as ancillary services for grid stability and system management.

Through Cleanergy, AboitizPower further provides customers with a choice that leaves a lighter environmental impact. Recently, Aseana City land developer booked a 10-year contract with AboitizPower to provide for one of its building’s power needs. The supply will be provided by the geothermal power plants in Tiwi and Makban, which are operated by subsidiary AP Renewables Inc. (APRI).

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Investing in More Renewable Energy Projects

Based on the PEP’s demand-supply projections, a total of 29,329 MW of dependable capacity will be needed in all major grids of the country by 2030*.  The Luzon grid needs at least 20,000 MW, Visayas, 4,400 MW, and Mindanao around 4,200 MW — these while the local energy sector transitions to a low-carbon economy as part of the national government’s commitment to the Paris climate talks held in December 2015.

SacaSun is part of the Cleanergy expansion, replicating its success in other parts of the country where feasible. Its subsidiary Hedcor is looking at developing small hydro projects of up to 200 MW. It is also exploring potential geothermal wells in Negron Cuadrado and Mount Apo. Through its joint venture subsidiary SN Aboitiz Power, it is currently working at an aggregate of 350-MW hydropower plants in Ifugao province.

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AboitizPower has enhanced its capability to finance more renewable projects. APRI has recently secured an Asian Development Bank-backed climate bond issuance worth PHP10.7 billion. The climate bond, which has been certified by the Climate Bonds Initiative, is the first in Asia and the Pacific and the first ever climate bond for a single project in an emerging market. The transaction validates the successful rehabilitation program of the geothermal power plants in Tiwi and MakBan facilities.

“The deal opens a new avenue for financing and refinancing our various projects, allowing AboitizPower to redeploy capital toward our large pipeline of new power investments that include renewable energy. We are committed to support the energy needs of the country, and in building renewable energy resources through our brand, Cleanergy,” said Liza Montelibano, FVP and Chief Financial Officer, AboitizPower.

“The transaction is highly innovative, representing the first climate facility ever issued in local currency in the power sector in the Philippines and the first credit-enhanced project bond in Southeast Asia (excluding Malaysia) since the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis,” said Reginaldo Cariaso, Senior Vice President and Managing Director of BPI Capital Corporation, which acted as lead arranger and sole underwriter of the bond issuance.

APRI Climate Bond Signing

Empowering People, Taking Care of the Planet

AboitizPower has always integrated responsible environmental stewardship and stakeholder engagement into its operations. It is committed to continuously enhance, protect and care for the environment in areas where it operates. It endeavors to work closely with its internal and external stakeholders in complying with pertinent laws, policies and other requirements, minimizing its carbon footprint, and mitigate the environmental impacts of its operations, given the best and cost-effective applicable technologies.

When the permit to build the 300-MW baseload power plant in Davao was issued, Therma South Inc., (TSI) convened the Multi-partite Monitoring Team to ensure that Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) conditions are followed and met. TSI also actively pushed for the establishment of the carbon sink management program in upland Marilog district in partnership with the Matigsalug IP community.

Indigenous farmers are now helping TSI in expanding and maintaining a forest ecosystem area that will absorb a significant amount of carbon emitted by the power plant. The plant itself is designed according to the latest technological breakthrough in clean coal production. It uses the circulating fluidized bed combustion technology that minimizes emissions and ensures that the power plant meets the Philippine Clean Air Act standards. It also houses the country’s first coal dome, which provides a safe and efficient way to store coal fuel.

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The same practice happens in all of AboitizPower’s business units. On top of using modern technology, it also implements an environmental management program that goes beyond compliance.  Its various watershed programs cover partnership with local host communities, seedling nursery establishments and rehabilitation of deforested area. Hedcor for instance has planted over a million seedling in deforested areas near their plant facilities since 2005.

As of end 2015, the entire Aboitiz Group has planted and takes care of about 3.8 million trees in different areas in the country. AboitizPower alone had grown about 1.1 million from 2013 to 2015. Through its subsidiaries, it will grow 4.8 million more trees in the next five years, bringing its contribution to 5.9 million trees.

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A Long-term commitment

On April 19, AboitizPower celebrated a bright milestone. In that crowd of 300 people, four women felt in their hearts that an even brighter future lies ahead of them. Suzzette Escoreal, Edna Araneta Alindajao, Ma. Nilla Flores, and Theresa Sabanal are among the local residents who benefitted from SacaSun’s presence in San Carlos City.

During the construction of the power plant, it employed more than four thousand workers. Approximately 80% of the hired workers came from the host community of San Carlos City and about a third or 1, 500 of whom were women. Suzette, Edna, Nilla, and Theresa assembled parts of the solar panels. Today, their employments have been continued to help the contractors maintain the facility and sometimes, to repair the panels.

With passion and zeal, AboitizPower is doing its part to help the Filipino nation sustain an economic progress that uplifts many lives and takes care of the environment. The investment it made in renewable energy many years ago has paved the way for other developers to also join the call of the government to develop more renewable energy projects. The renewable energy projects it has built over the years have also created a positive impact on the lives of many people in the communities where it operates. Truly, at the core of Cleanergy beats the purpose of AboitizPower to make a better future for Filipinos.


Other References:
Philippine Energy Plan 2010-2030 (Updated 2012)
The Philippine Energy Report 2013-2014 ed., “Growth and Opportunities in the Philippine Electric Power Sector”, published KPMG