Ayala led company AC Energy Corporation was recently under fire after a power barge exploded in one of its newly acquired properties in Iloilo City. The explosion happened last July 03, around 3pm, at Power Barge 102, spilling around 40,000 liters of oil into the sea. This caused a massive oil spill that reached the shores and coastal communities of both Iloilo and Guimaras.
In a sit down with Gabby Mejia, Head of Plant Operations of AC Energy Philippines, he detailed the company’s efforts in containing, cleaning, and rehabilitating oil spill affected areas.
Foremost, families (around 325 households) were evacuated and have been provided for in the entire duration of their stay in local hotels. Moreover, the company engaged the services of Harbor Star, a maritime service provider, to aid in the cleanup of both coastal shores and offshore areas.
AC Energy, together with AECOM Philippines, also presented their action plans, including the ‘Shoreline Clean-up and Assessment Technique (SCAT)’, to all stakeholders involved. SCAT is an internationally recognized method used to survey and document the impact of spills on shorelines and the effectiveness if cleanup activities, as well as post-cleanup inspections and evaluations.
The company also detailed its Environmental Management Plan (EMP) for Guimaras, which Gabby Mejia and AECOM presented to the Guimaras Provincial Government headed by Gov. Samuel Gumarin and Vice Governor John Edward Gando.
The company also partnered with Dr. Resurreccion Sadaba, a professor in biology whose expertise revolves around mangrove, beach forest, and oil spill management. Dr. Sadaba is also the technical adviser of the Iloilo City Government for oil spill affected areas in both Iloilo City and Guimaras.
As of date, AC Energy has completed the recovery of oil totaling to 261,637 liters – representing 95% of the spill whereas the remaining 5% is said to have evaporated or carried to the shore. The recovery was completed 8 days after the oil spill incident. Shoreline cleanup is still ongoing and is around 50% to 90% in the completion.
About the video: Brgy. Sawang in Buenavista, Guimaras where cleanup efforts are almost complete. In the video, the coastal area looks like it has been restored to its former state. The video highlights Hoskyn Brgy. Tanod and cleanup volunteer Arturo Ganila Jr. (first episode), Hoskyn Brgy. Captain Kaiser Monreal (second episode), and Sawang’s Brgy. Captain Regidor Camarista and Brgy. Secretary Jhowie Espano (last episode) who all have willingly shared their stories of hope, their efforts to protect their lands and seas, their plight to provide refuge and sustenance to their communities, and their strong belief that, in time, all will be well.
Apart from the oil spill, Gabby Mejia also shared the direction of AC Energy in the future.
All the Way Green: AC Energy to Divest Coal Assets by 2030
Ayala led company AC Energy Corporation, last April 2020, announced that it is planning to ‘go all the way green’ by 2030 – fully divesting coal assets as part of its initiative to minimize greenhouse gas emissions, joining other companies around the globe who has made the commitment to go greener.
“[AC Energy Philippines] is making a commitment to transition to a lower carbon portfolio by rebalancing our generation portfolio to grow our renewable energy assets,” states Fernando Zobel De Ayala, company chair, in an article by Philippine Star.
Moreover, AC Energy President John Eric Francia revealed that 700 megawatts of new capacity was added to the company’s portfolio last, 60% of which were from renewable sources.
“We will continue to expand and diversify our generation capacity and will target to exceed 1,500-megawatt of capacity by 2020 and significantly increase our renewables capacity,” he said. Read more: Ayala to fully abandon coal investments by 2030, an article by Philippine Star.