SOLUTION TO POWER CRISIS? Ilocos Norte inaugurates 81-MW wind farm

By Ernie Reyes | Interaksyon

InterAksyon_featured_imageMANILA, Philippines – With the specter of blackouts to hit Luzon grid customers, Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. expects the inauguration of the 81-megawatt Caparispisan wind farm in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte to contribute toward easing the expected backlog of electricity come summer of 2015.

Together with his sister, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, Pagudpud Mayor Marlon Sales, and Ayala executives, Marcos led the inauguration rites in the coastal town of Barangay Caparispisan, located 72 kilometers from the provincial capital of Laoag City.

With a little over 625 residents, this barangay is best known for its white sandy beaches located in the first district of Pagudpud town. Known all over the world as the “Boracay of the North” and about 560 kilometers away from Manila, Pagudpud is home to about 22,000 Filipinos in Ilocos Norte.

Marcos said this project which taps wind as an energy source is not just environmentally sound but also a cost-effective way of helping ease the enormous burden the Philippines faces in its power requirements as an emerging economy.

The 81-MW Caparispisan Wind Energy project is a joint venture established in July by Ayala’s energy investment arm, AC Energy Holdings Incorporated, the Philippine Investment Alliance for Infrastructure, and the UPC Philippines Wind Holdco.

The Northern Luzon Renewable Energy Corporation (NLREC) is tasked with developing wind power projects in the Ilocos region, specifically Ilocos Norte. It broke ground last September 2013.

Emergency powers

The inauguration comes soon after the House Committee on Energy approved the granting of the emergency powers to the President where he will have the authority to provide for the establishment of additional power generating capacity to address the energy crisis.

Energy Secretary Carlos Petilla was quoted several times in the media warning of a possible 2-3 hour rotating brownouts in the summer of next year if government fails to address a possible 200-megawatt shortage in electricity.

With Caparispisan inaugurated and soon to provide clean power online, and with the expected opening of other wind farm projects in the future, Senator Marcos said that even without the grant of emergency powers, the expected output to be generated by these projects would contribute greatly toward improving the power situation in Luzon.

“The wind plants found only in my home province would help avert the looming power crisis by providing clean renewable wind resources to the country for power generation, thus addressing the soaring power consumption,” he said.

He also stressed that it also demonstrates the country’s adherence to environmental preservation because renewable energy sources eliminates greenhouse gas emissions and reduces the country’s dependence on finite and exhaustible fossil fuels, most of which is imported for power generation.

“It will make the power sector more sustainable,” he added.

The Caparispisan wind farm, which has 32 wind turbines, is NLREC’s first project. As a renewable energy project, the wind farm brings both environmental and economic benefits to society while contributing to sustainable development, through local employment creation and additional income taxes that can be used to fund more beneficial projects.

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