The government is looking for sources of energy other than fossil fuel. The goal is to move away from imported energy sources and focus on those which are indigenous and renewable. President Bongbong Marcos recently issued Executive Order No. 21 which mandates the government to accelerate the exploration and development of renewable energy resources such as solar, wind, hydropower and geothermal.

Among the renewable sources, wind and solar have the most potential. Wind has some advantages over solar. Solar energy cannot be harnessed at night or during cloudy conditions. I know this for a fact because I have a 5-kw hybrid solar power system installed in my house. Wind energy on the other hand can be harnessed even at night and is claimed to be a more efficient power source than solar.

The biggest wind farm in the Philippines is the 160-megawatt (MW) facility in Pagupud, Ilocos Norte which President Bongbong Marcos recently inaugurated. It eclipsed the 150 MW Burgos Wind Farm in Burgos, Ilocos Norte.

Other wind farms in the Philippines are 81-MW Caparispisan Wind Farm in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, 54-MW Pililla Wind Farm in Rizal, 54-MW San Lorenzo Wind Farm in Guimaras, the famous 51.9 MW Bangui Wind Farm in Ilocos Norte, 36-MW Nabas Wind Farm in Aklan and the 16-MW Puerto Galera Wind Farm in Oriental Mindoro. In the pipeline is the 75.6-MW Aklan I Wind Project expected to be operational in 2026.

All the existing projects are onshore. For offshore wind resource, the World Bank (WB) said that the Philippines’ total technical potential is estimated at 178 GW. Large areas around the country’s coast have technically extractable wind resources. The WB mentioned in its report that around 90 percent of the resource is found in waters deeper than 50 meters, which will require the use of floating offshore wind turbines.

Wind has been used for a long time as a source of energy. The Babylonians and Chinese have used it as an energy source as early as 4,000 years ago for pumping water to irrigate crops. The galleons, which explored the earth in the early times, used wind power. In Europe during the Middle Ages, wind power was used to grind corn, which is where the term “windmill” was derived.

Despite all the perceived advantages, there are also some issues raised against windmills. When I visited England in 2015, I was surprised to see posters along a major highway in the countryside opposing the installation of windmills. Wind farms are ‘eyesores’ to some people. Wind turbines can be noisy too. They produce a constant, low, “swooshing” noise.

Wind farms are also under fire for killing birds. According to a graph in the website, around 1.17 million birds are killed by wind turbines each year. However, this is a small figure compared to the 5 million killed annually by communication towers, 60 million deaths due to automobiles and 100 million fatalities due to buildings.