I. Norte celebrates groundbreaking for 20 MW solar farm, pushes to be a renewable energy center

Working on Ilocos Norte’s goal for innovation and its advocacy for ‘green’ energy, Governor Imee R. Marcos finally breaks ground on a 20-megawatt (MW) Photovoltaic Power Plant in Brgy. Paguludan, Currimao, Ilocos Norte, along with the officials of Mirae Asia Energy Corporation (MAEC) headed by its Korean Chief Executive Officer Bae Jong Soo today, November 15.

This is in response to the memorandum of understanding signed between the MAEC and the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) last 2011, selecting the town of Currimao which Gov. Marcos describes as undergoing “a very extended sunny time” as compared to the other places in the province.

This first grid-connected solar power plant in the province will cost Php2.6 billion and will be built on sand dunes, covering an area of 60 has (1 ha = 2.471 acre) to generate 30 million kilowatts of electricity per hour through photovoltaic technology.

“Photovoltaic technology is the use of solar panels which will absorb the rays of the sun and convert it to electricity which in turn will be distributed to the end-users—that’s how simple it is,” explained Lito Badua, MAEC’s Vice President for Engineering in Asia.

“It’s clean—there’s no emission at all and since we’re not using fuel, it’s relatively cheap,” Badua added.

The solar farm is anticipated to boost the tourism industry, create jobs for the residents in the area and contribute to overall economic progress in the province.

“This will open up the entire area to investment and development. Jobs will be generated through construction, and even if technical expertise is required, I am sure that cheap, reliable, and clean energy will open up investment from other manufacturing and industry that will be interested in coming to Currimao as a center for power in the Southern leg of the grid throughout the province and nationally.”

The use of renewable energy in Ilocos Norte can be traced back to the 1980s when the 5 MW Agua Grande mini-hydro power plant was built to benefit households in Pagudpud and to the year 2005 when the 25 MW energy wind turbines were erected in the town of Bangui, the first ever in the entire Southeast Asia.

“With these renewable energy power plants, we firmly establish our claim to be the renewable energy center of the country here in Ilocos Norte,” Gov. Marcos said.

MAEC is a well-known Renewable Energy developer. It projects that the construction of the said project will be completed by May 14, 2014—Grazielle Mae A. Sales, PGIN-CMO