Saturday, June 2, 2012

Roadtrip to Ilocos: The Wind Farm of Bangui

In the later part of 1990’s, the Philippines faced serious power shortages. The government took resounding measures to restructure the power sector in order to provide reliable power supply that will help sustain the country’s economic growth and development. The power sector particularly underwent transitions from being a state-owned control to a privatized, regulated sector.

NorthWind Power Development Corporation (Northwind) conceived the development of a 33 MW wind turbine power plant located in Bangui Bay, Ilocos Norte that will produce electricity without emitting greenhouse gases (GHG). The electricity generated by the project will displace grid electricity generated from fossil fuels and reduce GHG emissions.

NorthWind Power Development Corporation generates and sells electricity using wind energy. It sells electricity to the Ilocos Norte Electric Cooperative (INEC) and to customers in the province of Ilocos Norte. The company was incorporated in 2000; it is currently based in Taguig City and operates as a subsidiary of Michigan Power Inc.

Wind turbine towers lined along the shores of Bangui Bay

The Bangui Bay Project, later to be known as Bangui Wind Farm is located in Bangui, Ilocos Norte approximately 460 kilometer north of Manila on the main island of Luzon on the foreshore of Bangui Bay. The area borders the South China Sea. It was identified by a governmental study as a good-excellent wind resource for utility-scale applications. The United States National Renewable Energy Laboratory conducted a wind resource analysis and mapping study using Geographic Information System (GIS) technology. In this study Ilocos Norte was identified as an area of good-excellent wind resource. The site is located on a strip of cleared land (free of any trees and vegetation) that measures approximately 9 km long by 100 meters wide.

Bangui wind turbine towers seen along Maharlika Highway

The project witnessed the development and operation of a wind farm consisting of 20 wind turbine towers, a switchyard and a control station, and the installation and operation of a 50-km, 69 kV overhead transmission line. The 70-meter high wind turbine towers are erected on a nine-kilometer stretch of undeveloped and uninhabited foreshore area in Bangui Bay, which is covered by lease agreement with the Philippine Government. The wind turbines used in the project are state-of-the-art models designed, tested and manufactured by Vestas Wind Systems A/S of Denmark, EU. The wind turbine is equipped with 3 pitch-able blades and mechanical brakes acting on the high-speed side of the gear. Blades and mechanical brakes are driven independently by hydraulics and designed to be fail-safe even if the system is not pressurized.

Southern strip of Bangui Bay shoreline

Phase I of the NorthWind power project consists of 15 wind turbines, each capable of producing electricity up to a maximum capacity of 1.65 MW, for a total of 24.75 MW. It was inaugurated on June 18, 2005 with no less than Former First Lady Imelda Marcos, Governor Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., Former DOE Secretary Vincent Perez, Undersecretary Peter Abaya and Dr. Robert Yap as guests of honor.

Phase II, was completed on August 2008, with the addition of 5 wind turbines of the same capacity, and brought the total capacity to 33MW. All 20 turbines describe a graceful arc reflecting the shoreline of Bangui Bay.

Northern strip of Bangui shorline

AJ's family backdropped by the northern strip wind turbine towers

Thumbs up for Yves

Bangui Wind Farm represents the first commercial wind power project in the ASEAN region. It will provide zero GHG emission power and help to enhance technology transfer to the Philippines. Employment and job opportunities for locals were generated during the wind turbines installation phase of the plant and for the duration of its operation. The project will become an effective transfer medium for wind power technology.

Additionally, being the first wind power plant in the ASEAN region, it also attracted an increased number of tourists to the area which considerably resulted in the booster of much needed revenue into local businesses and the local community as a whole.

Sweety & me

Coastline of Bangui Bay

Massive structure of the wind turbine tower

And we bear witness to such magnificent grandeur.

Awesome structures indeed!

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