Mindoro wind blows for power, tourism

Oriental Mindoro officials expect to be doubly benefited—with more power and more tourists—when a P6-billion wind power project is finally established in the resort town of Puerto Galera.

Wind Energy Power System (WEPS) plans to put up a 48-megawatt wind facility on a 1,296-hectare property in the mountain village of Baclayan. The site overlooks Verde Island Passage, a sea corridor known for hosting the world’s most diverse marine ecosystem.

Representative Rodolfo Valencia (first district) said he was anticipating a decrease in power rates “soon,” while Puerto Galera Mayor Hubbert Dolor said he was looking at another tourist attraction.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held in the site on September 7. Armando de Rossi, chair of the Italian power firm CMC Asia and chief executive officer of project owner-developer Philippine Hybrid Energy Systems, Italian Ambassador Luca Fornari, and a representative of the Spanish contracting firm Gamesa Eolica SL Unipersonal attended.

The WEPS project has three phases, each capable of generating 16 MW and projected to cost P2 billion.

“Phase 1 is anticipated to be operational by 2015 but much efforts are being undertaken to expedite its commercial operation date by the second half of 2014,” said Nicky Villaseñor, chief operating officer of Phesi.

“All the electricity generated by each of the wind turbine generators will be delivered to the 69-kilovolt (KV) Mindoro grid through our 69 KV transmission line and metered at our interconnection or metering station,” Villaseñor explained in an e-mail to the Inquirer.

Power will be distributed throughout Oriental Mindoro by an electric cooperative through its 13.8-KV distribution facility, she added.

Villaseñor said the three phases, to be located six kilometers into the hinterlands of Puerto Galera, will partially serve the power needs of the province. Other existing and independent power producers are, however, still the dominant suppliers.

All phases would use the same infrastructure facilities, such as jetty, access road, substation, interconnection and metering stations, she said.

Valencia estimates renewable energy sources in the province, aside from wind, hydro and geothermal, to produce a total supply of 380 MW. Thirty-five waterfalls have been identified for hydropower development, he said.

Next year, natural gas is expected to be tapped in Mansalay and Bulalacao towns, both in the second district, according to Energy Undersecretary Jose Layug.

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