At IEnova we are convinced that we must respect and protect the environment. Consequently, we operate our business in a socially responsible manner, strictly adhere to all environmental regulations, and we base our work on the actions we have defined in the environmental pillar of our sustainability strategy:
We operate on the basis of a series of environmental management systems that set the guidelines we need to follow during the development, construction, and operation stages of our assets. These systems comply with the parameters established by the ISO 14001:2004 environmental management standard. To this end, we have designed formats and procedures to identify and control environmental aspects, hazardous and non-hazardous waste, compliance with the law, and the protection of flora and fauna, among others.
We follow best practices in the industry and adhere to all applicable environmental laws, regulations, and norms. We respect the terms and conditions established by the Mexican Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) and by the National Safety, Energy, and Environmental Agency (ASEA) for our environmental permits and authorizations.
To improve our management practices, in 2016 we designed an Environmental Information System to collect and process data on waste, emissions, the use and discharge of water, and energy consumption of all our assets. With this new system, we will be able to establish the baseline we require to set our future efficiency goals, standardize methodologies for calculating and recording data at all our subsidiaries, and to generate, verify, and update information throughout the year. It will also allow us to comply more expeditiously with all applicable corporate and legal requirements. We will implement the system gradually starting in 2017.
At IEnova we employ state-of-the-art technology to continually monitor and record emissions produced at our operating units. In 2016, we revised our methodology to calculate direct and indirect emissions in order to ensure that all our subsidiaries are complying with the guidelines of the General Climate Change Law and its Bylaws, in the terms of the National Emissions Registry and its corresponding Agreements. This meant we had to review the emission factors that were previously in use, and the way in which we calculate CH4 and N2O emissions from mobile sources, among other emissions.
Energía Costa Azul (ECA) and Termoeléctrica de Mexicali (TDM), both of which use natural gas turbines to generate electric power, require the most stringent monitoring. We employ a system to control and monitor emissions, a catalytic reduction module to decrease the discharge of carbon monoxide (CO), and a Selective Catalytic System (SCR) to control nitrogen oxides (NOx). With this, we are able to ensure that air emissions at these facilities are continually at levels below what the norm establishes
Because of the nature of their processes, we do not generate significant air emissions in our Distribution and Pipelines businesses. At ECOGAS most emissions are generated by the automobiles our salesforce and operations and maintenance staff use to do their jobs. It is worth mentioning that all our vehicles comply with the requirements of the Mexican verification program.
ECA and TDM employ the strictest waste management programs because they are the sites that generate the largest amount of waste. Since our goal is to employ resources and manage waste in a responsible manner, we work with authorized companies to adequately dispose of waste. When the physical and chemical nature of the waste allows, we collaborate with suppliers that either recycle or reuse waste instead of disposing of it in land fields. Both ECA and TDM are registered as generators of waste that requires special handling in Baja California.
We measure and record the way in which we manage waste. At both companies, we have preventive and correction programs in place to minimize risks and operation failures and to ensure the integrity and reliability of our operations.
Resulting from our waste management practices, in 2016 we had no reports of accidental leaks. This year we recycled 18 tons of hazardous waste and 36 tons of non-hazardous waste.
En 2016, se definió una estrategia para reducir la cantidad de residuos, y las técnicas para lograrlo. Asimismo, se buscará reforzar la supervisión durante los mantenimientos preventivos y la adecuada ejecución de las técnicas de reducción.
Finalmente, en 2016 registramos por primera ocasión un año completo de residuos generados por nuestro parque eólico Energía Sierra Juárez, que comenzó a operar a mediados de 2015. Del total de residuos generados en este activo, el 59% se reutiliza como co-procesamiento para obtención de energía, 37% se destina a reciclaje (recuperación de aceites residuales) y el 4% se dispone en confinamiento.
In 2016, we designed
for the conservation
of natural resources
Due to the nature of our processes, IEnova’s efforts to reuse, save, and recycle the water we use are primordially focused on ECA and TDM, our most water-intensive operating units.
At ECA we use water exclusively for the heating process required to produce a phase change in natural gas, which means the liquid never comes in contact with any materials. Additionally, 99% of the water used at this company—the IEnova facility that uses the most water—is extracted from the ocean and returned to the original source, always strictly complying with the specifications described in this operation’s environmental permits. The other 1% is wastewater that we treat in a plant that cleans it before it is discharged into the ocean.
An accredited laboratory analyzes the ocean water surrounding our ECA facility, ensuring that the physical and chemical characteristics of our discharge water are maintained and that we fully comply with the conditions established in our discharge permits and with the authorized contaminant limits established by the regulations.
On the other hand, at TDM we use demineralized water to produce the steam needed to move the turbine and for the cooling system. All the water used for TDM’s processes is municipal wastewater from the Zaragoza oxidation lagoon, in Mexicali.
Wastewater is treated to eliminate organic contaminants and mineral salts by employing different processes. TDM’s wastewater treatment plant can process a volume of 920m3/h. The majority of the treated water is used in the cooling systems, and the rest for producing steam, among other uses. The water that is treated at TDM is used several times by purging it in the heat recovery process and in the cooling towers, before being discharged. Purged water is discharged into a branch of the Río Nuevo, in compliance with our discharge permit and the NOM-001-SEMARNAT-1996 norm.
TDM uses state-of-the-art environmental technologies that comply with or even surpass all applicable norms in Mexico and in the state of California, making it one of the cleanest natural-gas-fired power plants among those supervised by the Western Electricity Coordinating Council, WECC.
At IEnova, we have developed several programs aimed at conserving biodiversity. With some variations dependent on the applicable environmental regulation, the characteristics of the project, and the affected ecosystem, these programs prioritize those issues to which each business unit can make the largest contribution, and are divided into two types of efforts:
We use those programs centered on conserving biodiversity to strictly comply with the guidelines of the authorizations issued in favor of IEnova. As a good practice within our company, we have voluntarily continued to implement some of the programs with which we contribute to preserving natural resources.
In 2016 we designed our Strategy for the Conservation of Natural Resources. It describes the general principles needed to foster a culture of environmental stewardship and the correct way to handle natural resources so that, when carrying out our activities, the allocated investments contribute to maximizing the expected results.
PROTECTION AND RESCUE
Before we start developing any project, we perform the necessary assessments to measure its potential impact on the ecosystem during the construction, operation, and maintenance phases. Prior to beginning to build a project, we determine and suggest to the authorities the measures we need to implement to protect the habitat and species of wildlife found in the area. We do this in order to fulfill our commitment to conserving the environment based on our practices, which are often stricter than what the environmental legislation stipulates.
Among these efforts, our Marine Mammals Monitoring Program (MMMP) is particularly relevant. We established this program in 2003, before we started building our liquefied natural gas terminal, Energía Costa Azul, in collaboration with the Ensenada Center for Scientific Investigation and University Studies (CICESE), the Autonomous University of Baja California (UABC), and other experts.
ECA is located in an area adjacent to the migratory route of the gray whale, where there is also an important presence of other species of marine mammals. We continue to operate the Marine Mammals Monitoring Program, which renders the data required to protect species in the region, particularly the gray whale, and to study their migration patterns, and ensure their free path.
The MMMP’s activities include taking periodic measurements of several environmental indicators to confirm that we have not affected the behavior of marine mammals in the area. In 2016, we registered the presence of ten species, with the majority of sightings reporting gray whales, sea lions, and humpback whales. We have historic records for 15 species of mammals, and sightings vary from year to year.
In addition, surrounding our natural gas pipelines we implement fauna rescue and relocation programs to identify the species living along the right of way. We also establish programs to protect and relocate the identified fauna to a safe place. We train the staff who will be in charge of caring for the rescued wildlife.
Since 2003 we operate
in Energía Costa Azul
The nurseries we have installed in areas neighboring our construction sites and that we have maintained, on occasions for more than 10 years, are among the flagship IEnova programs to protect and compensate flora. They are used to protect and produce, in a controlled environment, and, then, replant, on the affected strip of land, specimens of different species of the native plants we find when we first arrive at a specific site.
Due to considerable investments we make in these efforts and to our close collaboration with our suppliers, we have gained considerable experience in handling endemic species of flora.
We have rescue, restoration, compensation, and conservation programs in place that include, to a greater or lesser degree depending on the program, the following activities:
- Installing nurseries to produce, in a controlled environment, specimens of different species of plants native to the region in which a given project is built.
- Rescuing endemic and at-risk species.
- Acquiring and germinating seeds through collectors certified by the National Forest Commission (CONAFOR).
- Reforesting affected areas with endemic species.
- Installing drip irrigation systems.
- Monitoring the results of habitat restoration results periodically.
The ECA Rescue, Protection, and Conservation Program is a good example of our best practices. Although our environmental permits and authorizations stipulated that we only had to maintain it during five years, we have continued to operate this program for ten years now.
We are currently still producing native plants at the nursery, particularly those requiring more maintenance, care, propagation, and production efforts. These include the ferocatus viridescens, deemed to be an at-risk species by the NOM-059 SEMARNAT-2010 norm, and other endemic plants such as the coastal bush (agave shawii) and the malosma laurina and euphorbia misera bushes, among others.
In addition, we carried out habitat maintenance, propagation, and landscaping efforts, consisting basically of weed control. As it has over the past three years, in 2016 the program focused basically on maintaining the plants produced in the nursery, with total 49,049 seedlings of 19 species of coastal bushes. Additionally, the survival rate for the ferocatus viridescens in the restoration area was 88%, above both the 2015 rate and the goal of the program, which was estimated at 70%.
All evidence indicates that the program has been very positive, since diversity values for the species are similar, and in some cases even slightly higher, than the measurement we took at the beginning of the program, and the species balance is better.
Before construction on our ECA facility began, we started implementing a program to rescue, transplant, sow, and monitor organisms of high commercial and ecological value. We carry out this program in collaboration with local fishermen and scientists of the Autonomous University of Baja California. With this program, the organisms have continued to register the same sequence of changes to their population structure that they would have had if ECA had not been built on that location. Further, by introducing new young specimens, we contribute to conserving the species and to offsetting natural mortality rates.
When construction of this plant began, we rescued more than 900,000 relevant marine organisms, including different species of sea urchins, and sea cucumbers and snails. Since then, twice a year we monitor the protected organisms. We have found that survival rates for the transplanted populations, in particular the red sea urchin (S. franciscanus) and the purple sea urchin (S. purpuratus), are higher than 99%. The training on sustainable harvesting techniques that we offered local fishermen is a strong driver behind this program’s success.
PLAN TO RESCUE, PROTECT,
AND PRESERVE FLORA AND FAUNA
As has already been explained, we have programs in place aimed at protecting and conserving the environment and the species of flora and fauna that we find at our construction sites. Before starting to build, we perform several activities, including the following:
- Capture the wildlife we find in the area, to relocate all specimens to nearby places where they can live under conditions that are similar to those of their original habitat, but under safe conditions.
- Identify and rescue species of flora to collect and keep them in a nursery built by us in the affected strip of land.
- Reintroduce the species of fauna and flora into their place of origin, when construction work is done.
- Carry out a reinforced re-vegetation process that consists of sowing seeds of the species of flora found along the whole affected strip of land.
- Perform maintenance tasks, which include irrigation, applying fertilizers, and monitoring the area to determine survival rates.
We have reintroduced 78,464 species of flora along the right of way of the Sonora Pipeline: 25,260 along the first 220 km of the Sásabe-Puerto Libertad segment, and another 53,204 along the 331 km of the Guaymas-El Oro segment; in both cases survival rates are approximately 91%. Additionally, in our nurseries we are holding another 19,138 specimens corresponding to the 294 km of the Puerto Libertad-Guaymas segment, with a 98% survival rate.
Furthermore, on the right of way of the pipeline we rescued and relocated 83 specimens of 27 species of wildlife. Because we use species-specific techniques to capture them, we were able to set the specimens free on the same day that they were captured in forest areas that are very similar to the area they were rescued from.
At the San Isidro-Samalayuca Pipeline, we implemented a program to rescue and relocate flora to forest lands during the site preparation, clearing, and cutting phases. As part of this process, we identified the specimens that could be rescued as established in the guidelines of the NOM-059-SEMARNAT-2010 as well as other ecologically relevant species. On the right of way, we rescued 849 specimens corresponding to 5 species of flora, and in the agricultural plot where the Samalayuca monitoring, regulation, and control station will be located, we rescued and relocated a yucca elata specimen. The rescued specimens were relocated to adjacent forest lands offering the same natural conditions of the areas from where they were extracted.
Also on the right of way of the pipeline, we rescued and relocated 68 specimens of 23 species of wildlife, and 134 specimens of 15 in the Samalayuca station. All the specimens were set free on the same day that they were captured, in forest areas that are very similar to the area they were rescued from.
In the Ojinaga-El Encino Pipeline we rescued more than 16,000 specimens of 37 species of flora, with a survival rate of 97% at year-end. The rescued plants were relocated in two Wild Flora Confinement Areas that we periodically service and where they will remain until they are relocated to restored areas to be determined when construction is done.
As part of the fauna rescue and relocation program, and as a result of the studies we have performed, we counted 1,124 specimens of fauna including those that were identified, dispelled, captured, or relocated. On the right of way, we rescued and relocated 202 specimens of 51 species of wildlife. All specimens were set free in forest areas that are very similar to the area they were rescued from.