Philippines sparks wind energy gold rush
The Philippine Inquirer this week quoted a local official as saying that Italian firm Brulli Energia is already conducting land foundation and soil studies as part of a planned 200MW wind development in the Oriental Mindoro region of the country.
The official also said the Philippine Hybrid Energy Systems (Phesi) is similarly planning to invest in wind power projects in the province. Phesi is the local subsidiary of the US-based BreezElectric which has been scouting potential wind sites in the country since 2004.
In 2004, the Department of Energy signed pre-commercial contracts with Phesi for four wind sites in the Baleno, Abra de Ilog, Oriental Mindoro and Romblon regions.
A study made by the US Department of Energy-National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) shows that the Philippines’ wind potential could provide up to 76GW of power.
The same study shows that 47 provinces out of 73 in the Philippines have at least 500MW wind potential and another 25 provinces have at least 1GW.
Another study conducted by WWF shows that 1,038 wind sites in the country could generate about 7.4GW of electricity. Almost 5GW of these sites were in the Luzon district, while 2.1GW were in the Visayas region.
So far, the only major wind farm development in the country is the $50m Bangui wind farm, which was built by Denmark’s Northwind Power Development Corporation and became operational in June 2005.
The Philippine government does not offer any subsidies for renewables but Northwind earned carbon credits for the project under the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism. As such, any future wind energy projects could also qualify for the UN-backed carbon offsetting scheme.
By Tom Young