The Group is conscious of the environmental impact associated with its operations. It is committed to protecting the environment and supporting sustainable development by managing its environmental footprint across its operating markets and conducting its business in an environmentally responsible manner. The Group strives to adopt behavioural change as well as the use of the latest clean technologies, processes, and systems to drive and monitor reduction initiatives. We are on track with our decarbonisation plan replacing coal-fired generating units with gas-fired units.
Our operating companies around the world aim to constantly contribute to the battle against climate change. Many of them are implementing initiatives supporting local governments’ commitments to achieve the goals set by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Each of our companies engages in a number of activities to improve on their own environmental performance through a range of initiatives across all operations.
Combating Climate Change
We recognise that investor and stakeholder interest in climate change has increased significantly and will continue to grow. Meeting the growing demand for energy while ensuring that the supply is reliable, affordable, clean and low emission is both a challenge and an opportunity for our industry.
As core participants in the energy sector, we understand that utilities play a key role in achieving the target adopted by many governments which are parties to the Paris Agreement to limit the increase in the planet’s temperature to below 2°C, and our operating companies are investing in innovation and green energy to support the fight against climate change.
To put our commitment into practice, we have developed the following strategies in supporting global efforts to decarbonise energy.
To address climate change risk and to capitalise on those opportunities arising from it
Responding to the physical and transition risks of climate change
The Group is committed to reducing emissions of GHG and other air pollutants within its operations and supporting the move to a low-carbon future through innovation and adoption of the latest technology and processes alongside environmentally-friendly energy sources. Our target is to reduce our coal-fired generation installed capacity from about 50% of our total generation portfolio in July 2017 to about 22% post-2023. Bedsides, we are working on the following initiatives to help reduce GHG emissions:
Environmental Management System
Power Assets is implementing an Environmental Management System (EMS) with an aim to contribute to the ‘environmental pillar’ of the Group’s sustainability development. This EMS serves to ensure continual environmental improvement, monitor compliance with relevant laws and regulations, fulfil supply-chain requirements, promote staff environmental awareness and increase financial savings resulting from resource saving and cost reduction. Most of our business units have their EMS which are ISO14001:2015-certified or being developed in line with ISO14001.
Opportunities in Clean Technology
The Group seeks to prepare its electricity and gas networks to support smart cities and the hydrogen economy. We will embrace the viability of a hydrogen economy with gas networks working on hydrogen blending, and seek to introduce hydrogen in gas distribution networks where applicable. We will also support governments in different jurisdictions to turn into smart cities by rolling out smart meters, provide adequate EV charging facilities, and educate the community on sustainability, energy efficiency, and renewable energy.
Preserving Natural Environment
We are committed to protecting the environment and biodiversity, and supporting sustainable development by conducting our business in an environmentally responsible manner.
We aim to minimise the impact of our operations on the environment while addressing the global concern about climate change. We comply fully with all applicable laws and regulations and endeavour to integrate environmental considerations into all aspects of our business operations.
It is part of our Environmental Policy to protect the biodiversity and habitats in the area around our projects. We seek to minimise and mitigate the impact of our developments before we begin a project, and continuously monitor the potential impact of operating projects on biodiversity.
In addition to controlling the impacts of air and noise emissions, excessive illumination and human disturbance to plants and animals, planting programme is also in place to promote biodiversity through the cultivation of native trees and shrub species, and attract local wildlife. Our business partnered with ecological experts to assess identified sites and determine a baseline biodiversity measurement. Following each survey, a biodiversity management plan was prepared with site-specific measures to enhance the biodiversity potential.
Based on the water risk framework of the World Resources Institute's (WRI) publication on financial risks from water constraints on power generation, we currently have no production plants/sites located in water-stressed areas and our operations are considered of low risk. Despite this, we have different plans for water conservation which includes reusing wastewater and rainwater at our power stations, adopting water efficiency appliances in our premises and preserving water quality by reducing discharge. We will continue to pursue opportunities to reduce water usage across our businesses in future.
Managing Waste and Effluent
Another strategic objective of our Environmental Policy is the sound management of waste and effluent. In order to continuously improve, we look for opportunities to implement reuse and recycle initiatives that result in net positive impacts on the environment. Approximately 99.5% of waste by weight of our gas distribution companies is excavation spoil. Spoil is excavated, segregated by type on-site and assessed for contamination. Clean spoil is sent off-site to recycling centres for processing into recycled aggregate. Contaminated soil is segregated, tested, classified and then sent to the appropriate facility for treatment and/or disposal.
Hazardous Waste Management
We are extremely careful about managing waste generated from our operations, including the by-products of energy generations. Our collective efforts to reduce waste involve our employees, contractors, suppliers, regulators and other third parties. We advocate waste reduction at the source and encourage the reuse and recycling of waste for other projects. Waste management plans have been formulated and implemented to enable recycling and reuse, and proper storage, collection, treatment and disposal of waste. Temporary wastewater storage and treatment facilities have been installed at power plant construction sites to recycle wastewater generated from bore piling work to reduce wastewater discharge. Furthermore, our power plants have been collecting generation by-products including ash and gypsum for industrial use, such as manufacturing of cement.
Reduce, Reuse, Recover and Recycle
The Group is implementing the “4R” Policy - reduce, reuse, recover and recycle materials and resources. Ash and gypsum from power plants are being collected for industrial use and the amount of excavated spoil sent to landfill are limited by using recycled aggregates rather than virgin aggregates.