Siargao island in Surigao del Norte has been known for its pristine white beaches, marine life, rich mangrove forests, and world-class surfing spots.
With tourist arrivals expected to hit around half a million in 2019, the island’s leaders have started the path to sustainability. In 2018, the municipality of Pilar passed an ordinance banning the use of single-use plastics – a pioneering move for the island whose biggest industry depends on its rich natural resources.
The island’s power distributor, Siargao Electric Cooperative (SIARELCO), pushed the sustainability envelope even further. The island, which was rated one of the world’s best in 2018 by prestigious travel magazine Condé Nast Traveler, is now mostly powered by clean and renewable energy.
“Siargao is one of the top tourist destinations. While we welcome more guests, local and foreign alike, we wanted to ensure that we continue to do our part in taking care of our island,” SIARELCO General Manager Sergio C. Dagooc said.
SIARELCO’s demand for power has almost tripled in only three years to an estimated 8 to 9 MW this year. Majority of the island’s supply come from the Private Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (PSALM) which is powered by the Agus-Pulangi hydro power complex and the Mt. Apo geothermal power plants.
It recently added at least 1 MW from AboitizPower’s Hedcor hydro power plant in Bukidnon, under the company’s Cleanergy brand.
“After the ban on single-use plastics on the island last year led by our local government, we take pride in contributing our sustainability efforts for Siargao by adding more renewable energy to our energy supply mix,” added Dagooc, an incoming party-list congressman representing the Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives (APEC).
SIARELCO entered into a renewable energy supply contract with AboitizPower subsidiary Hedcor for 1-MW. The energy will come from the company’s recently completed hydropower plant in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon.
“We are excited to be a partner of SIARELCO in its efforts to make Siargao more sustainable. This partnership highlights the high value that both SIARELCO and AboitizPower place on sustainability, driven by our shared commitment to bettering the communities we serve.” AboitizPower First Vice President for Energy Trading and Sales Juan Alejandro Aboitiz said.
Aboitiz said more and more distribution utilities and Open Access customers are seeing the opportunities brought by a push for sustainability. Responding to this need is AboitizPower’s brand Cleanergy, coming from the company’s vast portfolio of geothermal, hydro, and solar power plants located all over the country.
“With our portfolio and more than 50 years of experience in the energy sector, we are able to tailor fit solutions that will meet the demands of our customers,” Aboitiz added.
Hedcor is a wholly owned subsidiary of AboitizPower that operates 21 run-of-river hydropower facilities across the country with a total installed capacity of 258 MW.