by Myrna Velasco – January 21, 2016
from Manila Bulletin
The island-paradise of Boracay literally had its “dark past” because of the power interruptions it endured in years, but electricity service in that major tourist destination is now boosted partly by the 36-megawatt Nabas wind farm of PetroWind Energy, Inc. led by the Yuchengco Group.
With stable power supply, the tourism draw of Boracay as well as the linked economic opportunities in nearby areas have been shored up.
In general, Visayas grid benefits from the wind plant’s operations which kicked off June last year.
In the recent inaugural ceremony for the Nabas wind power facility, developer PetroWind Energy has noted that the project’s incidental benefit would be “new ecotourism and livelihood opportunities for the local government units and host barangays.”
In other power markets overseas, while wind farms are considered assault to migratory birds and something that could destroy the horizon, the reception of the Filipinos has been the exact opposite – because such power facilities are regarded sights to behold – rendering ground-mounted solar installations then as their “boring cousin.”
The Nabas wind plant was formally commissioned last year, but it took some time before it was granted its feed-in-tariff (FIT) incentive. It is part of the second wave grantees for a FIT of P7.40 per kilowatt hour.
In his message during the plant’s inauguration, Senate President Franklin Drilon has additionally noted the potential of renewable energy (RE) projects in satisfying the needs of the country’s rural electrification project.
The Senate chief emphasized that completing the State’s electrification program would be the ultimate key into spurring economic and livelihood opportunities even for the most far-flung of the rural areas.
The prescription of many developers is to couple RE with other technologies under the so-called “hybrid system,” so it ends up to be a more reliable source of electricity service. In addition, it could reduce the level of subsidies funneled to off-grid areas.
“Electricity and a strong and stable supply of power are directly related to economic and social development and improve the delivery of basic services,” Drilon said.
He added that the RE sector then “calls for continuous support and encouragement for similar projects that not only mitigate climate change but also reduce negative impacts to health and the environment.”