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Philippines Asia’s top wind producer

The Philippines is now the largest and fastest-growing producer of electricity from wind power among the 10 countries belonging to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), former Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri, said in a news release Sunday.

“Our wind farms now have an aggregate installed capacity of almost 400 megawatts (MW) — far more than our neighbors — and we expect this number to quadruple to 1,600 MWs in two to three years,” Zubiri, author of the Renewable Energy Law of 2008, said.

Proximity to a coastline and elevation make the country very rich in wind resources, according to Zubiri.

“We have plenty of potential wind farms because we are a mountainous archipelago. Our many islands provide us an extensive coastline with good height,” he said.

Citing a study by the US National Energy Laboratory, Zubiri said the Philippines has “some 10,000 square kilometers of land areas with good-to-excellent wind resources.”

The country’s “best annual wind resources” are in Batanes province; the north and northwest coasts of Luzon; the northeast- and east-facing coasts of Luzon and Samar; the southeast coast of Mindanao; and the straits between Mindoro and Luzon, Mindoro and Panay, and Panay and Negros, according to the study.

“Wind energy is highly beneficial because it is abundant, naturally replenished, widely distributed, and produces zero harmful carbon dioxide emissions during operation,” Zubiri said.

The former senator said wind farms — a collection of wind turbines in one site used to generate electricity — actually use very little land.

“The lands between the wind turbines are still available for agriculture and other purposes,” he pointed out.

Zubiri said the Renewable Energy Management Bureau has identified at least 44 potential wind energy projects that when combined could produce another 1,168 MW of electricity.

The 150-MW wind farm of the Energy Development Corp. (EDC) in Burgos, Ilocos Norte is the largest in Southeast Asia.

The country’s other producers of electricity from wind power are North Luzon Renewable Energy Corp.’s 81-MW wind farm in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte; Alternergy Wind One Corp.’s 54-MW wind farm in Pililla, Rizal; Trans-Asia Renewable Energy Corp.’s 54-MW wind farm in San Lorenzo, Guimaras; and PetroWind Energy Inc.’s 36-MW wind farm in Nabas, Aklan.

Meanwhile, Philippine Hybrid Energy Systems Inc. is putting up a 48-MW wind farm in Puerto Galera, Mindoro Oriental.

Last week, government awarded another four wind energy service contracts to private developers — two to EDC and two to Firstmax International Corp.

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