Wind energy in Philippines – Trans-Asia is infusing US$1 billion for 400 MW wind power projects

Francisco L. Viray, president and CEO of Trans-Asia Oil and Energy Development Corp. (PSE:TA), revealed that they are now looking at the construction of a 400 megawatt (MW) wind power projects in various areas in Visayas and Luzon.

"In terms of wind, were looking at a total of about 400-MW from about 37 to 38 sites. I don’t have the details, these are in the Visayas and in Luzon," Viray told reporters in a news briefing Tuesday.

Though there are no talks yet, he said they are planning to get partners for the 400 MW wind farm projects. "We’re looking for partners for the entire 400-MW portfolio. [But] were still in the feasibility study so we would probably go out when we complete it," Viray said, adding that they will welcome foreign and local partners.

For their first project, Viray said they will start with the 54-MW Guimaras wind farm, with an initial capacity of 8 MW. He said the wind farm is expected to be commissioned in the next two to three years or by 2012

Asked how much capitalization would be needed for this project, Viray said TA-Oil will earmark US$ 20 million initial funding and this will include the development of the 8 MW in wind power capacity.

TA Oil, he said, needed to spend US$ 2.5 million per megawatt for the wind farm project. But when asked where will they get the funding for these projects, Viray refused to elaborate.

According to the TA Oil office, they already installed wind measuring instruments in four prospective sites in Guimaras and Cagayan Valley and is looking at installing another one in Mercedes, Camarines.

"If the prospects become successful," Viray said, "they are looking at six years timetable to commission the wind power plants."

Meanwhile, Viray said they have identified the 38 wind farm prospects and these are in Luzon, Visayas, Panay Island and Bicol.

He noted that TA Oil will focus on wind projects since these are the less expensive to develop and the most viable as compared to solar and ocean power prospects.

"Wind is the most viable renewable energy technology. Solar is still expensive, ocean is still in the R&D stage. And, even globally, I guess wind will be the next generation clean technology that will be in the market. Besides, the development of wind technology is also fast. I guess its something with a properly defined FIT (feed-in-tariff) and policy of government on how to support renewable energy. Then, we will probably take the lead in terms of the economic viability of renewable energy," he explained.

TA Oil has a total generating capacity of 76.4 megawatts, which includes the 52-megawatt power plant in Bulacan; the 3.4-megawatt plant in Guimaras; and the 21-megawatt CIPP plant in Laguna. TA Oil is also engaged in petroleum exploration and production and energy development.
Based on studies conducted by the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Department of Energy, the country has vast renewable energy potential, including 76,000 MW of wind capacity and 170,000 MW of ocean energy capacity.

This potential capacity exceeds the projected 4,350 MW in additional capacity that the country would need in the next six years.

Wind is one of the energy resources that will benefit from the passage of the Renewable Energy Bill, which has been pending in its various forms for almost two decades now.


Philippines: Saudi Arabia of renewable energy?  by Sen. Edgardo J. Angara

Oil may be the black gold of the last 100 years, but renewable energy is the green gold of the future. Global investments in renewable energy have been skyrocketing, reaching a record $100 billion in 2007. And in a span of just three years, the world doubled the clean energy it generates, reaching 240 gigawatts in 2007. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, as this figure represents only 5 percent of the global power capacity and 3.4 percent of global power generation.

Sustained investments in renewable energy can have the whole world running on clean, inexhaustible energy by 2090; Greenpeace estimates that with vigorous and focused efforts, this could even be fast-tracked to 2050.

The Philippines is teeming with renewable-energy sources, and has a huge potential to become a world leader in clean-energy generation.

According to the 2008 Global Energy [R]evolution: Global Sustainable Energy Outlook, the average investment in the power sector for the next three decades can reach $590 billion per year. The same study identified the Philippines among the “hot spots” of new power-generation investment, along with China, North America, Europe, Indonesia and Thailand.

The Philippines is poised to topple the United States as the largest producer of geothermal energy in the world. We are generating 80 percent of the current production in the United States, and with recent expansion plans announced by the Energy Development Corp., the country’s biggest generator of geothermal energy, we can become the largest producer of geothermal energy within a decade. Already, we are the largest consumer of electricity from geothermal sources in the world.

Our potential in wind-energy generation—at 76,600 megawatts (MW)—can power the electricity needs of the country seven times over. Hydropower currently supplies 60 percent of Mindanao’s electricity needs. Our biodiesel production, with a capacity of 395 million liters/year, exceeds the 140 million liters local demand, indicating our potential to export biodiesel.

In terms of ocean-power generation, the Department of Energy has already identified 17 ocean-power sites, estimated to have the collective capacity to generate more than 4,350 MW.

Unleashing this massive potential in renewable energy entails a paradigm shift in how we produce and use electricity—a process that we have already initiated through the passage of the Renewable Energy Act last year.

Dubbed as the first and most comprehensive renewable-energy law in Southeast Asia, the Renewable Energy Act, which I sponsored, provides the necessary framework to facilitate and promote renewable-energy technologies in the country. It has adopted best practices in the world, such as Germany’s feed-in tariff system, and provides for a Renewable Portfolio Standard System, requiring energy companies to eventually source a portion of their supply from renewables. It also provides substantial financial incentives to attract investors and assuage the initial high cost in investment.

To jump-start its implementation, the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering (Comste), which I chair, hosted an international conference that gathered top industry players and international experts on renewable-energy technologies last week.

The two-day event identified enterprise ideas and investment opportunities in renewable energy to stimulate investor interest and encourage them to secure a share in the renewable energy market.

Corollary to this, the event launched Comste’s plan to establish a Renewable Energy R&D Institute, which will initiate R&D activities and innovations on renewable energies, and facilitate public and private partnership. This, in turn, will hopefully stimulate the market for energy and environment goods and services.

We now stand at a crossroads, of choosing between the easier course of staying with the status quo, or taking the more difficult path of engaging in a green-energy revolution. The latter entails decisive and concerted initiatives that must be sustained in the long run. The investments and decisions we make today determine what kind of future our succeeding generations will inherit, and it is our urgent duty to ensure that theirs is a brighter better, and greener future.

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