THE province of Ilocos Norte is gearing to become the Renewable Energy (RE) capital not only of the Philippines but also of Southeast Asia.
Gov. Imee Marcos of Ilocos Norte said apart from the existing RE plants, more wind and solar projects are still in the pipeline for the province.
In the last quarter of 2014, two big wind farms with a total 231 megawatts (MW) capacity of renewable energy production started operations.
These include the 150 MW Burgos Wind Farm Project (BWP) of the Lopez group’s Energy Development Corp. (EDC) and the 81 MW Caparispisan Wind Energy project in Pagudpud town.
The BWP, operated by EDC Burgos Wind Power Corp., is considered as the largest wind farm in Southeast Asia with 50 wind turbines operating in a 600-hectare forest land covering Barangays Saoit, Poblacion and Nagsurot, all in Burgos, Ilocos Norte.
It is expected to produce an estimated 233 gigawatt-hours of energy annually and will service more than a million households.
The construction of the two new wind farms is part of the government’s efforts in maximizing environment–friendly resources to produce electricity in anticipation of a power crisis this coming summer.
According to EDC, the BWP will help boost the needed power capacity in the Luzon grid in the next 10 years. The electricity demand in the region is expected to increase by 4.5 percent annually.
The 81 MW Caparispisan Wind Energy project, developed by the Northern Luzon Renewable Energy Corporation, has 27 units of wind turbines installed atop the hill in the 625-hectare land area in Barangay Caparispisan, Pagudpud.
The 81 MW wind energy project, costing $220 million, is a joint venture of Ayala’s investment arm AC Energy Holdings Incorporated, the Philippines Alliance for Infrastructure and UPC Philippines Wind Holdco.
Besides this, the NorthWind Power Development Corp. has also completed Phase 3 of its wind project in Bangui Bay, Ilocos Norte with Feed-in-Tariff capacity of 18.9 MW.
NorthWind is also the developer and operator of the first in Southeast Asia’s 33 MW Wind Farm that was constructed in 2005 in Bangui town.
Marcos said because of the “unique” weather condition of Ilocos Norte, big power companies are planning to put up more RE plants in the province.
“We have strong and consistent wind conditions which are ideal obviously for wind,” she said.
Besides wind energy, Marcos said corporations have also started developing solar power.
“Solar has already began with the first hybrid in Burgos,” said Marcos referring to the EDC’s 4 MW solar plant installed also in its wind farm.
Besides EDC, NorthWind has also added the solar power to its portfolio by experimenting with various solar panels from six different manufacturers to generate up to 2 MW of power.
The Department of Energy has been actively promoting renewable energy in the country as mandated by the Renewable Energy Act of 2008 or Republic Act No. 9513.
The law prioritizes connections to the grid for electricity generated from emerging renewable energy resources, and the purchase and transmission of and payment for such electricity by the grid system operators.