Bangui windmills surmount Pepeng

7 October 2009

The famed windmills of Bangui , Ilocos Norte are in tiptop shape despite being battered by Typhoon Pepeng.

This was the assurance given by Ilocos Norte 2nd District Representative Bongbong Marcos who has been monitoring developments in his district and the whole province since the super typhoon hit the northern tip of the country.

“The windmills are fully functional,” Marcos said. “It has a coping mechanism that allows the fans to clip their wings during extraordinary typhoons. This is part and parcel of its design.”

It was in Marcos’ first term as congressman back in the 1990s when he pursued aggressively the development of a wind power plant in the province due to high electricity generation costs. The Bangui windmills were completed when Marcos was governor of Ilocos Norte and have become a showcase for the use of alternative power sources in the country.

Also known as a “wind farm”, the 15 windmills provide power with no harmful greenhouse gases (GHGs) causing global warming and accelerates the rural electrification. The turbines’ hub height is 70 meters or 23 storeys. Each blade is 41 meters long. They supply up to 70 percent of the northern grid’s power.
Aside from its benefits as an alternative power source, the Bangui windmills have also gained status worldwide as a must-see tourism destination.

Marcos also reported, however, that Typhoon took two lives in Ilocos Norte and exacted enormous costs on its agriculture. The Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council has estimated that crop damage may have reached P50 million. But damage on infrastructure and casualties have been kept to a minimum due to the proactive measures taken by the local government such as preemptive evacuation and rapid emergency response.

“It has always been a practice in the province for the local government to jump into action whenever signal number 2 is declared by PAGASA,” Marcos pointed out. “We have had training and practice drills for that.”