Northwind Power to double capacity of Ilocos power plant
- Donnabelle L. Gatdula () - July 18, 2006 - 12:00am
Northwind Power Development Corp. is planning to double the existing capacity of its wind power facility in Ilocos by another 25 megawatts (MW) over the next five years.

Department of Energy (DOE) director Mario Marasigan said Northwind is currently evaluating the feasibility of the additional five turbines totaling eight MW.

Marasigan said this will form part of the second phase of Northwind’s five-year expansion program.

He said, the expansion will help address the projected growth in demand in the Luzon area in the next five years.

"Northwind targets to put up the 50-megawatt wind power plant in the next five years, as there is a need to be attuned to the demand," he said.

In August last year, the Monetary Board, the policy-making body of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), approved the $12.5 million loan application of Northwind.

Specifically, the MB approved the mixed-credit facility of the Danish-Filipino consortium that would put up a 25-MW wind power facility in Bangui Bay, Ilocos Norte.

The 10-year loan would be guaranteed by Tidcorp and will be based on commercial interest rates or a margin of 20 basis points.

The Northwind project, which started construction last April 24, will make the Philippines the first producer of wind power in Southeast Asia.

The wind project, which is expected to be ready by the end of the year, will augment the supply of power in Ilocos Norte.

The construction of the first 25-MW wind farm in Southeast Asia will involve the installation of modern and sophisticated wind technologies that will be placed in a single row stretching nine kilometers along the shoreline of Bangui Bay.

It will harvest breezes from the South China Sea using 15 giant wind turbines, each standing 70 meters in height with rotor blades spanning 40 meters.

The Northwind project will become the pioneering model for future wind power projects in the Philippines and a magnet to attract at least 417 MW of wind-based power projects within the next 10 years.

With wind speeds reaching an average of at least seven meters per second or an equivalent of 26 km per hour, the Bangui Bay shoreline was one of the recommended sites by the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (USNREL) as the most ideal place for wind power generation.

The government plans to increase the harnessing of wind power for the electrification for off-grid rural areas.

To date, several similar projects are already in the pipeline including the 40-MW Pagudpod wind project of PNOC-EDC, 10-MW Abra de Ilog wind project in Mindoro, 15-MW wind project in Camiguin, Siargao and Diangat Islands and the 30-MW Smith Bell Negros wind farm.

BANGKO SENTRAL BANGUI BAY DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY ILOCOS NORTE IN AUGUST MARIO MARASIGAN MONETARY BOARD NORTHWIND POWER SOUTHEAST ASIA WIND
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