Lacson: Harnessing wind power


DESPITE being a fourth-class municipality, Bangui is one of the most visited places in the province of Ilocos Norte because of the Bangui Wind Farm, also known as the Northwind Bangui Bay Project. Fully completed in 2008, it is the first power generating windmill farm in Southeast Asia and powers 40 percent of the entire province.

Standing on a single row along the Bangui Bay shoreline, each of the 20 units of 230-feet high wind turbines is capable of producing electricity up to a maximum capacity of 1.65 MW. The Vestas turbines, arranged in an arc-like layout, provide a picturesque wonder of nature infused with technology.

Ideally located along the shores from where the wind blows towards the land, the site which has a terrain roughness of 0 is perfect in removing windbreaks. The area, being undeveloped and uninhabited, is also free of any trees and vegetation and poses no threat to the environment. According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration or Pagasa, the location of the Philippines being near the Asia-Pacific monsoon belt is ideal for installing wind turbines given that the Philippines has a mean average of about 31 watts per square meter (W/m2) of wind power density.

Amidst the growing crisis in power generation and increasing electricity rates in the Philippines, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-Philippines) has challenged the Department of Energy to seize the wind in 2015 and should include efforts to increase wind energy installation in its priorities and targets for this year. Being one of plentiful renewable energy sources, wind energy is clean and produces no greenhouse gas emissions during operation. WWF also highly encourages the development of renewable energy projects specifically solar and wind energy which is the fastest that can be deployed to meet this specific type of electricity demand.

The newest wind energy project that is expected to be completed this year is the Pililla Wind Farm Project located in Barangay Halayhayin, Pililia, Rizal. The 67.5-MW wind farm involves is composed of 27 wind turbines along the ridge of the mountainous Rizal province. As ideal as Bangui, Pililia is also a promising site for harnessing win energy based on the Wind Atlas of the Philippines conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory of the United States. Alternergy Wind One, the company behind the construction of the said wind project has also verified and confirmed the potential after more than three years of wind resource assessment by GL Garrad Hassan, the world's leading wind consultancy firm.

Another wind power facility in Pililla called the Sembrano wind farm is being put up by Alternergy, and it has a projected capacity of 72 MW and costing $236 million. Alternergy also confirmed that both wind facilities will be connected to the distribution network of Meralco, which owns the franchise to operate in Rizal.

With the aid and the persistent efforts of various organizations such as WWF and other wind energy associations throughout the world, our government must take a bold step in engaging in these kinds of endeavors that ultimately address the power crisis that has beset the lives of every Filipino.


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