Windmill Race

Some 250 megawatts of power from three wind farms in Ilocos Norte are expected to boost the country’s energy supply starting this year until early 2015 that could help ease the country’s electricity shortage, Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla said Tuesday.

Petilla made the forecast after a recent visit in Ilocos Norte province to check on three wind power projects under construction. These include 150 MW from Energy Development Corp. of the Lopez Group, 81 MW from North Luzon Renewable Energy Corp., formerly North Luzon UPC Asia Corp. and 18 MW from NorthWind Power Development Corp.

“Around 250 MW [of wind power capacity will come in] until early next year,” Petilla said.

He declined to say which of the three projects would be the first to be completed under the feed-in tariff regime.

“This is a race so I cannot disclose,” Petilla said. He earlier said the reliability of wind projects was only at 50 percent, being an intermittent renewable energy source.

EDC’s Burgos wind project aims to be the first wind project to avail of the feed-in-tariff, which the Energy Department will grant to 200 MW of wind projects on a first-to-commission basis.

The whole power output will be sold under the FIT system as spelled out by the Renewable Energy Act of 2008.

Once operational, the Burgos project will be the largest wind farm in the Philippines, comprising of 50 large-scale Vestas V90-3.0-MW wind turbines and ancillary plant to be supplied and constructed by Vestas, the world’s leading wind turbine manufacturer.

The project includes a 115-kV transmission line connecting the wind farm from the Burgos substation to the Laoag substation of National Grid Corp. of the Philippines.

The Burgos wind project is one of the largest investments to date in Ilocos Norte. It occupies a 600-hectare site covering three barangays—Saoit, Poblacion and Nagsurot, in Burgos, Ilocos Norte. It is also EDC’s first wind power project after establishing itself as the country’s leading geothermal producer.

North Luzon, controlled by Ayala Corp., is in the advanced stage of construction of its 81- MW Caparispisan phase 1 wind project in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte.

The construction of the first phase is now around 80 percent complete, while that of the substation and transmission line is ongoing, according to the Energy Department records.

The department listed the Caparispisan wind farm as one of the power projects that is expected to operate by March next year.

Another Ayala-led firm, NorthWind Power, is pursuing the third phase expansion of the Bangui Bay wind farm in Ilocos Norte by adding 18 megawatts from the existing 33 MW.

NorthWind earlier told the department that it planned to complete the expansion within the year.

NorthWind operates the 33-MW Bangui Bay wind project in Ilocos Norte, the largest in Southeast Asia. (Source: Manila Standard)