TAREC plans expansion of Guimaras wind farm

TRANS-ASIA Renewable Energy Corp. (TAREC) plans to expand its wind farm project on Guimaras Island by 40 megawatts (MW) as soon as the Energy department releases a new installation target for wind energy.

“We have an expansion within Guimaras,” Danilo L. Panes, TAREC vice-president, told reporters on Friday as the company showed its 54-MW San Lorenzo wind farm project on the island province in Western Visayas to officials of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).

“Our plan is another 40 MW,” he said, adding that the expansion would be in Sibunag municipality, which is about 15 kilometers away from San Lorenzo town.

Mr. Panes said the Sibunag expansion would entail the construction of around 16 to 20 wind turbine generators, or fewer than the 27 towers for the San Lorenzo project. If the company decides to install a bigger capacity for each tower, from the current 2 MW for the San Lorenzo towers, the number of wind turbines would be 16 at most, he added.

He said the company was preparing for the expansion ahead of the issuance by the Department of Energy (DoE) of a new installation target for wind energy.

“We’re preparing para pag nandiyan na go tayo [so that when it’s there, it’s a go for us],” he said.

The DoE, under the current leadership, has so far not issued any guidance on a new installation target for wind technology and a corresponding feed-in-tariff (FiT) rate for developers.

Under the previous administration, the National Renewable Energy Board (NREB) has recommended a FiT rate of P6.97 per kilowatt-hour for wind energy and an installation target of 500 MW. The Duterte administration has yet to appoint a new chairman for NREB, the body created by law to set the direction for renewable energy.

TAREC, a fully owned subsidiary of Phinma Energy Corp., received a certificate of compliance for the San Lorenzo project from the ERC on Dec. 11, 2015. The certificate allows the company to recognize its FiT at an approved rate of P7.40 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) retroactive to Dec. 27, 2014 and guaranteed for 20 years until Dec. 26, 2034.

“The cost per tower is $3 million, so the total project cost is P6.5 billion or $145 million,” Mr. Panes said about the San Lorenzo project.

The company expects the wind farm to result in a reduction in carbon emissions by around 1.2 million tons of carbon dioxide during its 20-year minimum life.

Under the FiT system, qualified developers of emerging renewable sources are offered a fixed rate per kWh of their exported electricity, but excluding the energy for their own use. Their entitlement is taken from a “feed-in-tariff allowance” billed to all on-grid electricity consumers who are supplied with power through the distribution or transmission network.

In December last year, TAREC said it was the “first and only project” that had been issued a final certificate of approval to connect to the grid of National Grid Corporation of the Philippines.

The San Lorenzo project is one of three wind energy projects that were granted a FiT rate of P7.40 per kWh under the second installation target of 200 MW. The first 200 MW was secured by four projects, each with a guaranteed rate of P8.53 per kWh.