THE Philippines is now the largest and fastest-growing producer of electricity from wind power among the 10 countries belonging to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), former senator Juan Miguel Zubiri said over the weekend.
"Our wind farms now have an aggregate installed capacity of almost 400 megawatts (MW) -- far more than our neighbors -- and we expect this number to quadruple to 1,600 MWs in two to three years," said Zubiri, who authored the Renewable Energy Law of 2008.
Proximity to a coastline and elevation make the country very rich in wind resources, according to Zubiri.
"We have plenty of potential wind farms because we are a mountainous archipelago. Our many islands provide us an extensive coastline with good elevation," he said.
Citing a study by the US National Energy Laboratory, Zubiri said the Philippines has "some 10,000 square kilometers of land areas with good-to-excellent wind resources."
The country’s “best annual wind resources” are in Batanes province, the north and northwest coast of Luzon, the northeast and east-facing coasts of Luzon and Samar, the southeast coast of Mindanao, and the straits between Mindoro and Luzon, Mindoro and Panay, and Panay and Negros, according to the study.
“Wind energy is highly beneficial because it is abundant, naturally replenished, widely distributed, and produces zero harmful carbon dioxide emissions during operation,” Zubiri, one-time chair of the Senate committee on environment and natural resources, said.
The former senator said wind farms -- a collection of wind turbines in one site used to generate electricity -- actually use very little land.
“The lands between the wind turbines are still available for agriculture and other purposes,” he pointed out.
Zubiri said the Renewable Energy Management Bureau has identified at least 44 potential wind energy projects that when combined could produce another 1,168 MW of electricity.
The 150-MW wind farm of the Energy Development Corp. (EDC) in Burgos, Ilocos Norte is the largest in Southeast Asia.
Zubiri earlier credited the Renewable Energy Law for accelerating the exploration and development of the country’s “green” energy resources.
He said more than 2.9 million jobs -- mostly in construction and engineering services -- have been created by the boom in wind, solar, geothermal, hydro and biomass power projects in the countryside. (Sun.Star Davao)