3rd windmill project up in Pagudpud town

PAGUDPUD, Ilocos Norte, Sept. 27 – A multi-million-dollar new wind power farm project with 81-megawatt capacity is being constructed in this coastal town to boost the generation of renewable energy maximizing the prevalent strong winds in the area.

The said wind power farm venture will be the third multi-million-dollar renewable energy project in Ilocos Norte. First is the operational 33-megawatt wind power farm in nearby Bangui town and the on-going construction of the 87–megawatt wind farm in adjacent Burgos town.

Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, Energy Assistant Secretary Daniel Ariaso, Sr. and several ranking officials of the project developer Northern Luzon UPC Asia Corporation led the groundbreaking rites for the project in Sitio Ayoyo, Barangay Caparispisan, Pagudpud town last September 3.

An initial US$220 million fund was allocated for the 81 megawatt wind farm project for the construction of at least 32 units of wind turbines.

Director Mario Marasigan, head of the DOE Renewable Energy Management Bureau, said three giant companies joined together to develop the 81-megawatt wind power project through the NLUPC.

It was learned that the AC Energy Holdings Inc. (ACEHI), a subsidiary of the Ayala Corporation signed an investment framework agreement and shareholders’ agreement with UPC Renewables and collaborated with the Philippine Investment Alliance for Infrastructure (PINAI) with investors composed of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Asian Development Bank, APC, and Macquarie Infrastructure Holdings Pte Limited.

An initial equity investment has been agreed for the first 81 megawatt project with ACEHI funding 64 percent of equity; PINAI, 32 percent and UPC, 4 percent.

Last June 1, the DOE approved the 81 megawatt declaration of commerciality paving the way for the issuance of notice to proceed as NLUPC already signed turbine supply, installation and service availability agreement with Siemens Wind Power A/S and Siemens Inc.

Marasigan said the 81 megawatt power project is expected to be finished and will be fully operational by the last quarter of 2014 or early period of 2015.

“The initial benefits the residents in Ilocos Norte could derive from this project are the creation of direct jobs during the period of its construction and the revenues generated from the project’s real state property tax for the local government units,” he said.

According to Marasigan, the project location is very strategic due to the continuous presence of strong winds.

Last April 2013, the Energy Development Corp. (EDC) started the building of the US$300 million worth 87-megawatt Burgos Wind Project (BWP) covering about 600 hectares of land across Saoit, Poblacion and Nagsurot villages in Burgos town for the installation of 50 units of wind turbines. The BWP is expected to finish in 2014.

It may be recalled that in 2005, the NorthWind Power Development Corporation built the phase 1 of the 33-megawatt wind power plant in Bangui with initial 15 turbines. In 2008, the additional construction of 5 turbines for the wind farm was completed.

Aside from these three big wind farm projects in Ilocos Norte, several renewable energy investors are also looking into the possibility of constructing solar power generator, particularly in the towns of Burgos, Pasuquin, Vintar, Currimao and Badoc. (JCR/FGL-PIA1 Ilocos Norte)