Onshore wind projects in Ilocos Norte province will soon exceed 500 megawatts, a testament to the province’s strong wind potential, according to a Department of Energy official.
“We have around 400 MW [of wind projects] here in Ilocos,” DOE assistant secretary Mario Marasigan said.
Marasigan said wind projects in the province include ACEN Corp.’s three wind farms in Ilocos Norte: the 160-MW Pagudpud wind project, the 52-MW NorthWind project in Bangui and the 81-MW North Luzon Renewables in Caparispisan, Pagudpud.
Energy Development Corp. also owns a 150-MW wind project in Burgos, Ilocos Norte.
“Ilocos has a huge wind potential. Even Ayala Corp. is looking for additional [capacity]. It might be to have more than 500 MW here Ilocos,” Marasigan said.
ACEN is developing the 70-MW Capa wind project and targets to get most of the wind turbines for the project operational within the next 12 months. It is also studying a possible expansion for the Caparispisan wind project.
“I think we are targeting 70-MW total expansion for the Caparispisan wind farm of North Luzon Renewables expansion,” ACEN president and chief executive Eric Francia said.
Both Marasigan and Francia said Ilocos Norte has more potential to grow with the emerging offshore wind technology.
“I think that’s the next big opportunity in Ilocos. There’s still quite a bit of onshore wind opportunities, but I think the bigger opportunity is offshore, and the one constraint that needs to be addressed is transmission,” Francia said.
He said the Northern Loop transmission project is critical “to really unlock the potential of the remaining onshore and of course, offshore wind in Ilocos.”
“Hopefully, that’s in the transmission development plans to really make the Northern Loop happen and to build it in such a way that it would harness all the potential here in Ilocos Norte,” Francia said.