First Gen’s platform of power plants is not only diverse, competitive and one of the largest in the country, but it also has the lowest carbon intensity among major power generation companies in the Philippines. First Gen has gained this distinction by prioritizing the use of clean and renewable energy sources, such as, hydro, geothermal, and natural gas - to run power plants of its subsidiaries and affiliates.
First Gen, through subsidiary First Gas, uses natural gas from Malampaya in Palawan to run its 1,000-MW Santa Rita and 500-MW San Lorenzo power plants in Sta. Rita, Batangas City. Natural gas is considered one of the cleanest forms of fossil fuel.
First Gen, through First Gen Hydro Power Corporation, harnesses the kinetic energy from lowing water to run the 132 MW Pantabangan Masiway Hydroelectric Power Plant (PMHEPP) in Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija.
Through its wholly owned subsidiary, FG Bukidnon Power Corporation, First Gen operates the 1.6-MW Agusan River mini-hydroelectric power plant in Damilag, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon.
First Gen’s affiliate, Energy Development Corporation (EDC) has 12 integrated geothermal and power projects with 1,149 MW in total installed power generation capacity. EDC is the world’s biggest vertically integrated producer of geothermal energy, which is a clean and renewable form of energy. EDC’s integrated power stations consist of the following: the 150-MW Bacon-Manito Geothermal Production Field in Bicol; the 700.9-MW Leyte Geothermal Production Field in Leyte; the 192.5-MW Southern Negros Geothermal Production Field in Negros Oriental; and the 106-MW Mindanao Geothermal Production Field in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato. (The Energy Development Corporation has also its own case in this book.)
The CO emissions of power plants that are controlled or affiliated with First Gen were computed based on actual electricity generation of the plants in 2010 and in accordance with US EPA Average Power Plant emissions data. Based on the 2010 power generation data, these power plants displaced an estimated 11,768,285.32 tons of CO2 per year to help mitigate climate change and maintain environmental and ecological stability. The displaced CO2 emissions for 2010 are broken down into the following:
First Gen adheres to the concept of environmentalism in business. It strongly supports the concept that the long-term viability and sustainability of a business hinges not on destroying but on protecting the environment. Its adherence to the concept explains its decision to integrate environmentalism into the company’s business model and to prioritize the use of clean and indigenous fuel sources to run its power plants. The Mangrove Rehabilitation Project of subsidiary First Gas showcases the integration of its concept of environmentalism in business.
Launched in Year 2000, the Mangrove Rehabilitation Project focused on a 9.9-hectare mangrove area inside the compound of subsidiary First Gas Group, the owner of the 1,000-MW Santa Rita and the 500- MW San Lorenzo natural gas-fired power plants. Before the start of the rehabilitation, an assessment considered the area “non-forest grassland with a small patch of mangrove.” The initial assessment of the area showed that what was left of the mangrove area was “unlikely to proliferate or grow due to the lack of seed dispersing species.” It is now a thriving biodiversity site.
Sta. Rita, Batangas City.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and the Multi-partite Monitoring Team (MMT) helped as partners and cooperating organizations in the implementation of the Mangrove Rehabilitation Program.
Restoration of area’s biodiversity, carbon sequestration, and socio-economic upliftment.
Research, linkage and partnership establishment and information campaign formed part of the strategies and processes. First Gas treated the project not just as a compliance matter but as a commitment to environmentalism, which is an integral part of its business. In coordination with the DENR and the MMT, a four-phase Mangrove Management Plan was mapped out to revive the mangrove area. The plan started with the evaluation of the mangrove area for suitability to plantation establishment and the identification of the species appropriate for the area. The second phase was the Information, Education and Communication (IEC) campaign and provision of training to its partners and those involved in the project. The third phase involved the actual planting of the site-matched mangrove species. The fourth phase covered the monitoring of the survival, growth and development of the planted species through quarterly monitoring and periodic mangrove inventory on top of the continuous maintenance activities being carried out at the mangrove area. Through its effort to continually improve, First Gas has enhanced its Mangrove Management Plan to include aqua-silviculture management and rehabilitation and construction of dikes, cement walks, and elevated walkways. First Gas also conducted a regular monthly cleanup of its coastline, including the company’s jetty area.
Tree density: There are now 29 recorded mangrove species in the area from only three species in 2000. The tree density per 100 square meters almost doubled to 37 trees per 100 square meters in 2011 from 14 in 2000.
Carbon sequestration: According to a report by the SYNERGIA Environmental Training and Research Co., the significant increase in the number of trees and mangroves in the area resulted in the increased sequestration of carbon dioxide. From 119.88 tons in 2007, carbon absorbed has gone up to 121.19 tons per hectare in the adjacent and surrounding areas where the First Gas plants are located.
Flora and fauna: The increase in the tree density led to the reestablishment of the avian fauna with the First Gas compound becoming home to different bird species. The last study of the area found out that it has become home to 79 bird species, such as, kingfishers, starlings, warblers, pygmy woodpeckers, yellow bitterns, shrikes, and sunbirds. It has also become a favorite destination site for migratory birds, such as, Chinese egrets.
Fish sanctuary: A mangrove area serves as nursery and birthing ground for juvenile fish and offers the fish protection from predators, aside from a ready supply of food. It has long been considered in conservation circles that these nursery habitats need protection in order to increase the replenishment of adult fish population in nearby large bodies of water, such as the Batangas Bay. Fisher folks in the nearby community benefited by having a bountiful harvest of fish.
First Gas earmarks a PhP 250,000 annual budget to implement the Mangrove Rehabilitation Project, or a total of PhP 2.75 million so far since it was launched in the year 2000.
First Gas is committed to maintain the project area as a showcase of an industry-led ecological rehabilitation program for power-related projects where biodiversity is encouraged hand in hand with industrial development.
The rehabilitation program encountered several constraints at the start of its implementation, such as:
First Gas learned the following lessons:
First Gas bagged from Asian Power Magazine, a prestigious industry publication in the Asian region, the Silver Award for the Best Environmental Company of the Year during the 2010 Asian Power Awards held in Singapore on November 3, 2010.