TRANS-ASIA Renewable Energy Corporation (Tarec), a wholly owned renewable energy arm of Phinma Energy Corporation, plans to expand the capacity of its wind farm on Guimaras Island by 40 megawatts (MW), a company official said on Friday.
“We’re still waiting for installation targets from the DOE [Department of Energy] but we are preparing so that if the targets are available, we can start and we will get new ECC [Environmental Compliance Certificates] for the expansion,” Tarec vice president Danilo L. Panes said.
Tarec operates the 54-MW San Lorenzo wind farm on Guimaras Island. The plant has 27 wind turbines supplying 61.3 gigawatt-hours of wind powered electricity to the Visayas Grid through the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).
The planned expansion will be in the municipality of Sibunag, which is 15 kilometers from the town of San Lorenzo, and will cover three barangays — Sebaste, Sabang and Bubog. Twenty wind turbines are planned to be initially erected in Sebaste, Panes said.
The San Lorenzo facility has 27 wind turbines and each wind turbine generator produces 2 MW of electricity.
For the Sibunag expansion, Panes said: “If you will use 2 megawatts each, that will be 20 towers. But if it’s bigger, it could be 16 towers in Sibunag.”
The Sibunag wind farm will have its own substation and 27-kilometer transmission line, which will connect to the existing transmission lines of the San Lorenzo wind farm, the company said.
“In San Lorenzo we spent $3 million for the wind turbines,” Panes said, noting that the cost of constructing a tower “is the same and not getting cheaper.”
“We’re haggling for the price of the turbines. In the expansion, we’ll be using turbines from Europe as well, which is Gamesa. We wish there’s technology transfer to the Philippines to bring down the prices,” he said.
Gamesa is a Spanish manufacturing company mainly engaged in the fabrication of wind turbines and the construction of wind farms.
“If the pricing will go down, it will only be at 3 or 5 percent,” Panesa estimates, adding that the project will take about one year to be completed.
Meanwhile, he said that Tarec’s expansion plan for Nueva Valencia, another town on the island, still has a long way to go “because we’re still waiting for the installation targets.”
Tarec’s San Lorenzo wind farm was the first wind farm in the Visayas to be constructed and fully connected to the grid. The plant is expected to generate total energy of around 120,000 megawatt-hours annually, with the additional benefit of displacing carbon dioxide at an estimated amount of 65,000 tonnes per annum or a total of 1.3 million tonnes of CO2 during its 20-year project life.