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In the 1990s former Governor Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. aggressively pursued the development of a power plant in Bangui Ilocos Norte due to the poor quality of power provided by the National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR). Ilocos Norte is located at the end of the power grid that comes from Bauang, La Union which is a province away from Ilocos Norte, making the province most vulnerable to power outages. Poor quality of power discouraged investments in the province. Coca-Cola Bottler’s Company, a company highly dependent on the power in the province, would switch from to INEC’s line from 5pm to 10pm because of the low voltage. Complaints from Marcos never improved NAPOCOR’s power distribution to the province.
In 1996, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) conducted a wind resource analysis and mapping study. It concluded that various areas in the Philippines are amenable to wind power installation including Bangui and Burgos towns in Ilocos Norte, Batanes and Babuyan Islands, which are north of Luzon and the higher interior terrain of Mindoro, Samar, Leyte, Panay, Negros, Cebu, Palawan and Eastern Mindanao. The study led to the inception of the wind farm project. NorthWind Power Development Corp, a Danish power firm, supplied the wind turbine-generator units (WTGs) for the site, similar to those already found in Denmark. The project is to be developed in three phases.
Phase I of the project erected 15 wind turbines spaced 236 meters apart on-shore. This was inaugurated on June 18, 2005 and attended by Former First Lady Imelda Marcos, Governor Bongbong Marcos, Former DOE Secretary Vincent Perez, Undersecretary Peter Abaya and Dr. Robert Yap, Jesuit priest and Project Director of CD4CDM project of klima, who also conducted the invocation and blessing of the wind turbines.
Ratified by the NorthWind Power Development Corp and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development through the World Bank Prototype Carbon Fund, the Northwind Bangui Bay Project was the first project in the Philippines to have the Emissions Reduction Purchase Agreement (ERPA) under the Clean Development Mechanism. The Bangui Bay Project is also the first Philippine recipient of the Carbon Emission Reduction Certificates (CER’s) from the Executive Board of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
In 2006, the project produced a 5% discount of the weighted average price in the wholesale electricity spot market (WESM) or a generated savings of approximately USD1.4 million (PhP 70 million) for the INEC electricity consumers. The project cost for Phase I amounted to USD$23 million.
Phase II is targeted to be complete by June 2008 adding 5 more wind turbines carrying the same capacity as those already existing raising the total capacity to 33MW. All of which follows the arc of the Bangui Bay creating a fusion of technological and natural elegance. Phase II aims to increase the project’s power contribution to Ilocos Norte from 40% to 70%. Phase III would then raise the total expenditure for the whole project to USD$75 million.
Geographic LocationThe Northwind Bangui Bay Project is located at the municipality of Bangui, Ilocos Norte, Philippines. Located at the north-west tip of Luzon, Longitude N18o 31’ 30” and Latitude N120o 40’ 30” up to N120o 45’ 30”, the windmills face the sea from where the wind blows towards the land. Its location along the shore is optimal in removing windbreaks and has a terrain roughness of 0. The site, Bangui Bay, borders the South China Sea, free of any trees and vegetation that is approximately 9km long and 100 meters wide. The area is undeveloped and uninhabited making it ideal as a site and poses no threat to the environment.
The location of the Philippines being near the Asia-Pacific monsoon belt is ideal for installing wind turbines. The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration attests that the Philippines has a mean average of about 31 watts per square meter (W/m2) of wind power density.