I. Norte bids as hub for renewable energy

The first solar power plant that will be fed to the Luzon power grid has found a home in the sunniest corner of the province–the sun-drenched village of Paguludan in Currimao, a neighboring town of Paoay, Ilocos Norte.

Currimao, facing the west Philippine Sea, is best known for its stretch of quaint beaches and was declared in 2010 as one of the top emerging tourist destinations in the Philippines by the Philippine Tour Operators Association .

The Currimao solar farm is one of two projects that the Department of Energy has approved for Ilocos Norte. In the pipeline is the 50 MW solar power project of Energy Logics Philippines, Inc. in the towns of Pasuquin and Burgos.

Ilocos Norte has been home to a mini-hydro power plant since the 1970s which feeds power to the northern towns of Pagudpud and Bangui. Meanwhile, the wind farm in Bangui town continues to be the country’s poster image for renewable energy having been the first to erect such facility in Southeast Asia.

President Benigno Aquino III has prioritized the provision of clean and affordable energy to Filipinos under the National Renewable Energy Program (NREP) also known as the “Green Energy Roadmap of the Philippines.

The NREP is anchored on DOE’s energy reform agenda which ensures greater energy supply security for the country.

The Aquino administration has provided a roadmap to promoting renewable energy by harnessing the potential of each renewable energy resource from geothermal, hydropower, biomass, solar, wind and ocean.

Korean firm Mirae Asia Energy Corp. (MAEC) and the Ilocos Norte provincial government broke ground last November 15 to pave the way for the construction of the 20 MW Currimao solar park on a 60 hectare-plot in Barangay Paguludan.

The village is easily suitable for a solar park with its unobstructed landscape and vast land area that runs parallel to the Currimao bay.

The solar park is expected to be completed in 18 months or by May, 2014 with an expected production of 10 MW or 17,000 mwh per year in its first phase.

Groundwork for the solar park began last year when Governor Imee Marcos entered in a Memorandum of Understanding with Korean investor Jongson Bae, MAEC President, for the building of the solar photovoltaic plant.

Currimao was the best choice for the solar park project with its extended dry season of up to nine months every year.

The province will soon generate 50 percent of its power requirement from clean energy with the operation of the solar plant aside from drawing up investments and industries. (ANL/CCA-PIA 1 Ilocos Norte)