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  1. Join Date
    Sep 2004
    This came up at the main Yahoo page just a few minutes ago. I hope our local news media also take note. Hwag naman puro pulitika nalang balita.

    BANGUI, Philippines (AFP) - When enormous windmills began appearing on a desolate stretch of the northern Philippines coast, locals were overjoyed rather than alarmed.

    The steel contraptions, standing 23 storeys high, were unlike anything impoverished families from Bangui Bay had ever seen. But they were enthusiastic nevertheless.

    The 15 "giant electric fans" were bringing electricity to their homes for the first time.

    "It was a joy to watch them being built," said 72 year-old Rosita Ridun, whose family earns less than two dollars a day collecting pebbles on Bangui beach for sale to construction companies.

    "My grandchildren described them as giant electric fans."

    Standing in an arc in wind-lashed scrubland, the windmills, which started supplying electricity to 40 per cent of Ilocos Norte province in May, are the first source of clean energy introduced in the Phillipines, a nation with 84 million people reliant on oil and gas.

    Costing more than 48 million dollars, the windmills, built by a private company with interest-free loans from the Danish government, can harness winds the strength of Hurricane Katrina which devastated the US Gulf Coast last month.

    And as crude oil prices spikes above 70 dollars, interest in the windmills is growing. President Gloria Arroyo has ordered a reduction in fuel consumption and an investigation into possible alternative energy sources.

    Consequently, government and state-owned power company officials are requesting the head of the Bangui Bay project, a Danish engineer, try and help them replicate these windmills throughout the country.

    "Everybody wants to be a wind developer now," said engineer Niels Jacobsen, president and chief executive of the Northwind Power Development Corp.

    Jacobsen started work on the 24.75-megawatt project in 1999 after meeting Ilocos Norte provincial governor Ferdinand Marcos Junior, who was intent on fixing the patchy and low-voltage power supply to his region which lies on the northern tip of the country's electricity grid.

    Marcos was well aware of the potential of wind because his father and former president, also Ferdinand Marcos, ordered a study into alternative energy in the 1970s amid the first global oil crisis.

    The project itself was a logistical and engineering feat.

    Each of the three rotor blades and its base, called a nacelle, weighs 104 tonnes with a diameter wider than the wingspan of an Airbus.

    Three piers were built to land these structures and the tapered towers of steel measuring 4.2 meters thick (4.6 yards) at their base, which were shipped direct to Bangui Bay from Europe.

    Piles were driven 12 meters (13.12 yards) into the leased land to support a 17-meter (18.6-yard) diameter base plate made up of 300 cubic meters (10,593 cubic inches) of concrete on which each tower stands.

    A substation and 57 kilometers (35.3 miles) of transmission lines were also built to deliver the electricity to the province's local power cooperative. The cooperative buys this electricty at a discounted rate rather than sourcing more expensive electricity from a state-owned company.

    But it's not just the cooperative and locals who have benefited from the windmills. Northwind earnt carbon credits from the project - and will sell 1.5 million dollars worth of them over 10 years to the World Bank which manages a carbon credit fund as part of the Kyoto protocol to reduce greenhouse gases.

    "We only sold a portion because, upon the advice of the World Bank, those carbon credits that we are still entitled to may be sold at a higher price later," said Ferdinand Dumlao, Northwind board chairman and treasurer.

    Dumlao said the project cost translated to two million dollars per megawatt of power generated, which is more than double the start-up cost of a normal power plant running on coal, oil, or other conventional fuel.

    Without the interest-free loans from the Danish International Development Agency (Danida), the project would have been unviable.

    Danida provided 30 million dollars in loans, payable over 10 years, and more than 10 million dollars in grants, with the rest of the project cost coming from shareholders' equity, including loans provided by the windmill and other equipment manufacturers.

    "It's not really going to make anyone rich," said governor Marcos, adding that Northwind investors would need between 20 and 25 years to earn money.

    "Frankly, if there's money to be made the province would have involved itself."

    However Marcos does think the windmills will have other spinoffs, such as perhaps becoming a permanent drawcard for tourists.

    "Ilocos Norte is not really the spot where you would expect to see a high-tech operation like the windmill, so the people can hardly believe it. I can barely believe it myself," Marcos said.

    "You even have tourists visiting the site which is great. It would make people more conscious about the availability of alternative power sources."

  2. Join Date
    Jan 2005
    They should put up more of these windmills all over the Philippines.

  3. Join Date
    Oct 2002
    This was featured in the Philippine Star last Sunday.

    Though it is curious that Europeans are shuning away from windmills as residents claim that they destroy the scenery / landscape and is noisy (like a giant washing machine).

  4. Join Date
    Jan 2005
    wow...this is great news!

  5. Join Date
    Nov 2002
    we should have more projects like these-i mean funded by interest-free loans--great!

  6. Join Date
    Oct 2002
    unfortunately, they can't be used in a highly populated place, it's too innefficient. OK lang yan if open land or hillside where wind will be prevalent.

    just play Sim City (2000 up) and you'll see the downside of windmills in a city.

    Pag province pwede talaga.

  7. Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Kitang kita itong mga windmills from Pagudpud. Kaya pala ang lakas ng hangin duon dahil may malalaking bentilador.

  8. Join Date
    May 2005
    dapat malayo ka talaga pala dito ....kasi maingay mahirap matulog ..
    sa dami at ang laki ba naman niyan .

  9. Join Date
    Aug 2003
    ilang megawatts ung kayang igenerate ng site?

    i surely hope they have contingency measures for typhoons...

  10. Join Date
    Aug 2003
    on the lighter side...pwedeng commercial to ng L300 ah!

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Giant windmills energize northern Philippines