Wind farm drawing tourists to Rizal

Wind farm drawing tourists to Rizal

Tourists are starting to flock to a 60-hectare farm in Pililia town, Rizal province for a view of 27 wind turbines, each equal to a 33-story building, erected against a backdrop of rolling mountains.

The wind farm is a project of Alternergy Philippine Holdings Corp. and is the first outside of Bangui in Ilocos Norte. It was launched yesterday after it successfully connected to the Luzon grid.

Former energy secretary Vince Perez, Alternergy chairman, said the 54-megawatt (MW) farm could produce electricity for 66,000 households in the province.

The project, he pointed out, was originally intended to be constructed in the Bangui wind farm but was relocated to Rizal due to transmission congestion in northern Luzon.

“We absolutely have no transmission constraints (now) because we’re so close to the grid. We want to be able to sell electricity, not generate undistributed energy, that’s why we relocated,” Perez added.

At a cost of $145 million, the wind farm is recognized as one of the biggest investments in Rizal.

Perez said the project is partly financed through a loan from BDO Unibank, China Bank and the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp.

Alternergy, he noted, got a “non-recourse project financing from the banks,” which means it was not asked for corporate guarantees and other requirements to secure the loan.

Each turbine produces 2 MW of clean and renewable electricity, for a total of 54 MW for the entire farm.

“The Pililia wind farm brings clean energy that we can all be proud of and we can pass on to many generations,” Gov. Rebecca Ynares said at yesterday’s launching.

Apart from augmenting power supply, Ynares noted that the farm spurred tourism and created employment opportunities in the area.

“Every day, thousands come to visit and see the wind farm. This will really open a lot of opportunities not only for the province, but also for our people,” the governor added.

There are plans to expand the farm to the adjacent Sembrano mountain range in Laguna province but Perez said this would have to wait until the next administration.

“We’ve declared commerciality on that for 72 MW. We’ll just wait for the next administration to come up with the guidelines – whether it will be for bidding or FIT (Feed-in Tariff) 3,” Perez said.

The Pililia project was cleared to receive FIT rate of P7.40 per kilowatt-hour in the second round of FIT installation.

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