Trans-Asia to invest $300M in wind power projects in Philippines

Francisco Viray, Trans-Asia president and former energy secretary, told that the company is concluding the terms of reference for the bid for the construction of the wind farm.

“Of course, we are talking with possible partners and lenders, though it’s premature to mention specific lenders, but these are both local and foreign lenders,” Viray said. He added that they target to finish the study by the last quarter and then bid out the entire 54 megawatt (MW) wind energy project. Viray said they plan to do the wind power project in Guimaras in phases.

If Trans-Asia bids out the construction by the last quarter, according to Viray, the awarding could be done by early next year and construction could take two to three years.

The Trans-Asia head earlier said his company is bent on leveraging on the 10 newly granted wind service contracts from the Department of Energy (DOE) to become the country’s largest producer of wind energy with targeted installed capacity of 400 MW.

Viray earlier said his company is looking at investing nearly $1 billion to put up wind-power facilities in Luzon and the Visayas.

“We are aggressively seeking opportunities in the area of renewable energy with our foray into developing a 400 MW wind-power portfolio that will cover about 37 to 38 sites in the Visayas and Luzon with a thumb-rule investment cost of $2.5 million per megawatt,” the former energy secretary said.

As part of its wind power project, the company recently finished a pre-feasibility study for a wind power facility in the San Lorenzo municipality in Guimaras Island, he said.

Viray said they initially plan to put up an 8 MW wind farm in the said municipality due to constraints passed by power lines. At present, the power lines connecting the island of Guimaras and Panay can only carry a load of up to 5 megavolt-amperes.

“We will use 3 MW in Guimaras and export the excess capacity to Panay Island,” said the Trans-Asia official, adding that the said wind farm is scheduled for commissioning in 2012.

Viray said they have also set up two measuring masts in Guimaras and another two in Cagayan Valley. Trans-Asia is also looking at probably setting up the fifth measuring mast in the Camarines area.

Viray noted that they could also expand their planned 8 MW wind farm to 54 MW should the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines also uprate the power lines connecting Guimaras and Panay.

A wind farm usually has a gestation period of six years: two years for prefeasibility study, another year for the feasibility-study stage and three years to construct the said power plant. Although Trans-Asia plans to undertake the 8 MW wind-farm project on its own, Viray admitted that they would have to look for partners for the entire 400 MW wind power project.

Trans-Asia Power runs a 52-MW power plant that supplies all the requirements of Holcim Philippines in Norzagaray, Bulacan and Bacnotan, La Union. This makes these plants self-sufficient and fully independent of local suppliers. It also makes all the electricity supplied by local power- generating companies fully available to the residents of the area.

The US Department of Energy National Renewable Energy Laboratory (USDOE-NREL) study earlier showed that 47 out of the 73 provinces in the Philippines have at least 500 MW in wind potential. The other 25 provinces each have at least 1,000 MW.

Another study conducted by the WWF-Philippines also showed 1,038 wind sites in the country could generate about 7,404 MW of electricity, which identified 686 wind potential sites in 28 provinces in Luzon, equivalent to 4,900 MW.

A total of 305 wind sites with a total potential of 2,168 MW can be found in the Visayas. The 47 sites in Mindanao have a combined generating power of 336 MW.