By Floro M. Mercene | Manila Bulletin
THIS early, Ilocos Norte is already reaping the benefits of its wind farms, thanks to the foresight of Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., who led the construction of the only major wind farm development in the country. This is the $50-million Bangui wind farm, built by Denmark’s Northwind Power Development Corp., which became operational in 2005.
Bangui's carbon footprints, are relatively small, helping mitigates global warming. The windmills and to its charm as a tourist destination.
A study made by the US Department of Energy — National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) — shows that the Philippines' wind potential could provide up to 76 gigawatt (GW) of power.
NREL said 47 provinces out of 73 in the Philippines have at least 500 megawatt (MW) wind potential and another 25 provinces have at least one GW.
Another study conducted by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) shows that 1,038 wind sites in the country could generate about 7.4 GW of electricity.
Almost 5 GW of these sites are in the Luzon district, while 2.1 GW are in the Visayas region.
The NREL laboratory in the US created a Philippines Wind Energy Resource Atlas Development report for the Philippines in 2000.
It found that there were many good prospects for wind farms particularly along the coastline and on mountainous ridges inland.
NREL said wind resource in the Philippines is strongly dependent on latitude, elevation, and proximity to the coastline. In general, the best wind resource, on an annual average basis, is in the northern and central regions of the country, primarily on hilltops, ridge crests, and coastal locations that have excellent exposure to prevailing winds.
The wind mapping results show many areas of good to excellent wind resource for commercial-scale applications and excellent wind resource for village power applications, particularly in the Northern and central regions of the Philippines.
The best wind resources are found in six regions: The Batanes and Babuyan Islands north of Luzon; the northwest tip of Luzon (Ilocos Norte); the higher interior terrain of Luzon, Mindoro, Samar, Leyte, Panay, Negros, Cebu, Palawan, eastern Mindanao, and adjacent islands; well-exposed east-facing coastal locations from northern Luzon southward to Samar; the wind corridors between Luzon and Mindoro (including Lubang Island); and between Mindoro and Panay (including the Semirara Islands and extending to the Cuyo Islands).
About 11,000 square kilometers of windy area with good-to-excellent wind resource potential is estimated to exist in the country. These windy land areas represent about 3 percent of the total land area of the Philippines.
With a conservative assumption of about 7 MW per sq. km of installed capacity, these windy areas could support about 76,000 MW of potential installed capacity, delivering approximately 195 billion kWh per year, according to studies.