Siemens eyes wind power leadership

Germany’s Siemens AG plans to become a major player in the Philippines’ nascent wind farm industry. Jacky Chan, Siemens Philippines Inc. president and chief executive officer, said the company is stepping up its clean energy portfolio by cornering a lion’s share of wind turbines projects in the country. "We are looking forward to capture the wind farm market in the Philippines," he said.

Siemens is a global engineering company that provides industry, energy and healthcare equipment, technologies and services.

In the Philippines, the company supplies transmission and distribution equipment to utilities, as well as technologies for power plant upgrades to fossil-fuel based generating companies.

With the expected passage of the feed-in-tariff (FIT) for renewable energy projects, Siemens plans to share its expertise in wind energy with local power companies.

The country only has 33 megawatts of wind power generating capacity from NorthWind Power Development Corp.’s Bangui Bay project in Ilocos Norte, which was put up prior to the establishment of incentives for renewable energy projects.

Emmanuel Gesmundo, Siemens Philippines vice president for energy, said the company expects at least 400 megawatts of wind farms to be put up in the Philippines until 2013, barely scratching the nearly 7.4-gigawatt potential the country can tap from this renewable energy source.

The catch, however, is that proponents of these projects are still awaiting the approval of the FIT, which would determine the amount of returns they will get based on the technology they would employ.

The FIT offers guaranteed payments over a definite period to renewable energy developers using wind turbines, solar, run-of-river hydro, biomass and ocean technology.

The National Renewable Energy Board, a body created under the Renewable Energy Act of 2008 to oversee the implementation of the law, has yet to approve the FIT.

Despite this delay, 10 local power companies have started talks with Siemens for the possible supply of wind farm equipment, Gesmundo said.

"We are talking to different firms, both local and multinationals. There are less than 10 at the moment because we are still waiting for the [FIT]," he added.

By Euan Paulo C. Anonuevo, The Manila Times,