Ilocos is renewable energy capital of Southeast Asia – Marcos
LAOAG, Ilocos Norte, Feb. 16 — The combined 284-Megawatt wind farm generated power of Ilocos Norte makes the province the renewable energy capital of Southeast Asia, according to Governor Imee Marcos.
Marcos expressed the province has strong and consistent wind conditions ideal for wind farms, even as solar panels are presently being installed in some of the wind farm lots.
The provincial chief executive said while Energy Development Corporation (EDC) is the first with hybrid farm it lacks the permit for installing 4-MW solar panels in Burgos town,
Other than EDC, Northwind Power Development Corporation is planning to put up a 2-MW solar farm in its Bangui wind farm lot, now in the testing phase.
Marcos disclosed that landowners are becoming hesitant to sell their land after being informed that the potential renewable energy farm will not help reduce their power bills.
”I’m having a hard time convincing people to give up their land near the seashore, because they also want to see that this will result in lower electricity rates per month,” she said.
Under the law, the RE farm’s capacity are mandated to be offered through the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM), and not to the electric cooperatives unlike the coal plants.
Ilocos Norte will still benefit on taxes from the farms and the companies’s corporate social responsibility projects, according to Marcos.
But Marcos laments the environmental damages brought by the building of these farms.
”Clean energy doesn’t mean clean producers. We’re very clean and green here in Ilocos Norte, we love trees, corals, rocks and sands, but sometimes the chief violators are the clean energy producers,” Marcos stressed.
Still the governor hopes that the experience is a learning process even big corporations will follow the local government’s environmental laws, stressing the province is also known for tourism.
”As a province, we pride ourselves in a very natural special environment that we sell since many depend on their livelihood from tourism and adventure tourism. So it’s hard that they become damaged… It’s a very fragile environment and needs to be taken care of,” she said.
Aside from power investments and tourism, Marcos hopes that communications, business-process-outsourcing (BPO) and value-added agriculture will also flourish in Ilocos Norte.
Operational wind farms in the province include the 53-MW Northwind Power Development Corporation, 150-MW Energy Development Corporation and 81-MW Northern Luzon UPC Asia Corporation. (PNA/ Juzel L. Danganan)