Renewable energy provider SN Aboitiz Power Group (SNAP) reaffirms its commitment to powering positive change in its communities and among its stakeholders through economic development, environmental protection, and sustainable practices.
With the global shift toward more sustainable forms of energy, SNAP continues to strengthen its position by focusing on how its current programs and operational activities align with its key sustainability priorities.
“Sustainability has always been a part of how we do business,” SNAP President and CEO Joseph Yu said. “Our goal is to not only ensure the long-term viability of our operations but to also contribute more concretely to the UN’s sustainable development goals.”
SNAP’s operational and sustainability practices are in alignment with and contribute directly to select SDGs, including Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG 7), Climate Action (SDG 13), Occupational Health and Safety (SDG 3), Community Engagement (SDG 17), and Pandemic Response (SDG 3).
While 2021 has brought unprecedented health, economic, and environmental challenges, SNAP has been able to respond efficiently to the rapidly changing conditions created by the COVID-19 pandemic with agility and resilience.
The company’s safety mindset and people-first philosophy were the main drivers in its pandemic response plan. SNAP continued remote operations and work-from-home protocols to protect its team members from COVID-19, and has implemented AboitizPower’s vaccination program for employees and contractors. It also carried out programs to promote the mental health and well-being of employees.
While pandemic response has been a key priority, SNAP has made operational decisions to ensure its adherence to the highest standards of health and safety. Its hydro plants have recorded a total of 8 million man-hours without a lost-time incident or environmental breach. This year, both SNAP-Benguet and SNAP-Magat passed the Integrated Management System audits and retained their certifications for quality, environment, occupational health and safety, and asset management systems. SNAP’s facilities were also awarded the Safety Seal by the Department of Labor and Employment.
SNAP has also continued to partner with its communities in Benguet, Isabela, Ifugao, and Nueva Vizcaya through its corporate social responsibility and sustainability (CSRS) program. In 2021, the company has deployed PhP30 million for 56 projects on infrastructure, education, livelihood, indigenous culture, governance, health, and the environment in partnership with local government units, host communities, and indigenous peoples’ organizations.
BRIGHTS (Bridging Gaps in Higher Education through Tertiary Scholarships), SNAP’s flagship education program for deserving students from the company’s immediate host communities, kept going, albeit virtually, from the application and selection process to orientation and learning sessions all taking place online. As of 2021, BRIGHTS has a total of 59 active scholars, and one scholar received her college diploma this year.
In addition to its CSRS program, SNAP has provided approximately PhP81 million to its host communities in 2021 as part of the Department of Energy’s ER 1-94 program, which provides host communities of power generating facilities with a one-centavo share for every kilowatt-hour (PhP0.01/kWh) of total electricity sales. The program normally covers projects for electrification, livelihood, health, reforestation, watershed management, and other environmental initiatives. In March 2020, the DOE issued a circular authorizing the use of the program funds for COVID-related projects. SNAP’s host communities have utilized the fund for emergency assistance, vehicles, quarantine facilities, relief or food supplies, and other health and COVID-related needs. “Supporting our host communities is an integral part of our operations,” said Mike Hosillos, SNAP’s Vice President and Chief Corporate Affairs Officer. “Since 2008, we have been purposeful in our commitment and approach to community development – which, ultimately, means empowering our communities to identify their needs, and seeing how we can work together to address them.”
The same commitment is reflected in SNAP’s environmental and watershed management programs, which the company implements in partnership with the local government and community stakeholders such as water management councils and indigenous peoples organizations. The Partnership in Uplifting upland Natural Resources, Livelihood and Assets (PUNLA) program, which is meant to complement local development plans, aims to protect and restore the Upper Magat Watershed. Through an agreement between SNAP and four municipalities in Ifugao province, PUNLA supports integrated watershed management projects in Banaue, Hingyon, Mayoyao, and Lagawe. In 2021, SNAP provided funding for the rehabilitation of rice terraces, agricultural equipment, seedling production, and greenhouse operations.
For the 85,000-hectare Ambuklao-Watershed in Benguet, SNAP collaborates with the National Power Corporation (NPC), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and the LGUs of four provinces and 13 municipalities. Through a Technical Cooperation Agreement, SNAP has implemented a Forest Fire Protection and Suppression program with the Shakilan ni Ikulos Indigenous Peoples Organization (SNI-IPO), Tinongdan Indigenous Peoples Organizations (TINPO), and Ambuclao Coffee Growers Association (ACGA).
In 2021, SNAP planted 22,720 seedlings covering a total of 13.66 hectares under the Aboitiz Passion on Agroforest and Reforest to Keep (APARK) program and the company’s own reforestation initiatives.
As SNAP looks to the future, it continues to seek opportunities to expand its renewable energy portfolio. SNAP-Magat’s Battery Energy Storage System project, located in Ramon, Isabela, is an energy storage system with a 20 MW capacity and 20 MWh energy storage to be used primarily for ancillary services. Early work activities have been completed and SNAP is looking at the second half of 2024 for the start of commercial operation.In addition to this, SNAP is also working on the expansion of the Magat floating solar project. SNAP piloted the 200-kilowatt floating solar over the Magat reservoir in 2019, its first non-hydro renewable project. It has proven its technical and commercial viability, and based on the results of the pre-feasibility studies, phase one of the project will be for 67 MW.
In his keynote address during SNAP’s annual host communities’ forum, held in late November and early December this year, SNAP President and CEO Joseph Yu underscored the importance of a sustainability framework to support the company’s present and future operations. “As we pursue more RE projects, we plan to continue our maturity with environment, social, and governance or ESG standards. With ESG, we believe we can promote even more responsible investing and the creation of value which are both important to long-term sustainability.”