Home of Windmills

Ilocos Norte continues to be the home of wind power farming in the country with the entry of three more wind power developers eyeing to build five more power plants this year.

Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos said developers were given the green light to start their facilities this year with a combined generating capacity of 256 megawatts.

The new wind farm projects continue to make Ilocos Norte as the home of renewable energies and will further cut the nation’s dependence from imported oil and fossil fuels.

The Energy Development Corporation will operate a $310 million-86 mw facility in Burgos town while Energy Logics will put up its own plant also in Burgos and another in neighboring Pasuquin town with a capacity of 120 mw costing $380 million.

The UPC Renewables, an affiliate of Italy’s UPC Group, will also build a 50-mw facility in the villages of Balaoi and Caparispisan in Pagudpud town.

The new wind energy sources were part of the governor’s report to the public during her state of the province address on Wednesday marking her first year in office.

“Today, we decide to break our dependence on fossil fuels and within the next few years, we must generate 50 percent of the energy used by the province from renewable energies,” she said.

“We were the first. We will not stop until we achieve all our dreams,” Marcos added.

Lawyer Ferdinand Dumlao, chairman of the Northwind Power Development Corporation which built the first Bangui wind farm in the country, said he welcomes the entry of more wind power plants in the province.

He said the presence of other wind farms would pose no competition among developers since all energy produced are sold in a single market which is the national grid and the wholesale electricity spot market (Wesm).

“All generated wind energy is of priority dispatch to the grid,” he said.

Dumlao said the NWPDC is also eyeing to expand its wind farm in Bangui and in Cagayan Valley.

Like Northwind, other renewable energy developers are banking on the Energy Regulatory Commission to approve the fit-in-tariff rates so that all RE projects will take off.

The FIT rates assure renewable energy developers of future cash flow as end-consumers will be charged a fixed amount and share the same cost of producing energy from renewable sources.

Meanwhile, the 25-year energy sales agreement between Northwind and the Ilocos Norte Electric Cooperative has been mutually terminated as a result of the passage of RA 9513 or the Philippine Renewable Energy law

Dumlao said Northwind was initially bound to deliver power to Inec for 25 years at the farm’s inception in 2005.

“The sales agreement has been terminated as a natural consequence of the law which now requires renewable energy developers to feed their power production to the grid,” he said. (Cristina Arzadon/PIA)