February 25, 2007

More wind turbines expected in Bangui wind farm

BANGUI, Ilocos Norte—President Macapagal-Arroyo said five more wind turbines are expected to rise at the 25 megawatt-Bangui wind farm to increase the energy produced for Ilocos Norte power consumers.

The President said a separate government-run 30megawatt wind power plant will also rise in nearby Burgos town with a government support of $75 million under the Super Regions program.

The wind farm will is a project of the Philippine National Oil Company.

“The Bangui wind farm is an example of a private investment. But we need more investments in North Luzon in the areas of agribusiness and energy,” She said.

The Bangui Bay wind farm, owned and operated by the Northwind Power Development Corporation, consists of 15 wind turbines and supplies 40 percent of Ilocos Norte’s power requirement.

According to Ferdinand Dumlao, Northwind chairman, the use of wind energy has been translated to a savings of P50 million since it started operating.

It was the first visit of Ms. Arroyo at the Bangui windmill after it started its commercial operation last year after she failed to attend the commissioning of the plant.

The President along with Energy Secretary Rafael Lotilla, Public Works Secretary Manuel Bonoan and former Energy Sec. Vince Perez, now consultant of the Bangui windmill, arrived at the Laoag International Airport and immediately met provincial officials led by Ilocos Norte Governor Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., Ilocos Norte Rep. Roque Ablan, Jr. and Laoag Mayor Michael Fariñas for a one-hour private meeting at the airport lounge.

She immediately flew here for a project briefing on the Bangui windmill.

The President was in Ilocos Norte on the invitation of Fariñas to grace the Pamulinawen festival, the city’s main fiesta celebrations.

Ms. Arroyo declined to talk about political issues mindful that Marcos identifies himself with the opposition.

Ms. Arroyo, the governor and Ablan, however, were seated at the backseat of the service vehicle that brought the President to the windmill farm’s operation building site.

She said Ilocos Norte is included in the government’s priority allocation of support programs under the North Luzon Agri-business Growth Quadrangle.

She said Ilocos Norte and the capital city of Laoag should brace for the near opening of the Chinese consulate in Laoag, the second consular post next to Cebu, which are outside Manila.

“We welcome our Chinese investors who are willing to provide funds in the areas of mining and agribusiness,” she said.

Marcos had earlier said that Chinese businessmen have signified their intent to help upgrade the Laoag airport while negotiations are on-going to include Ilocos Norte as a tourist destination for a cruise ship that regularly traverses the South China Sea.

A proposed expansion plan for the Currimao seaport has been identified to accommodate an additional berth that will service cruise ships to dock at the port.

Ms. Arroyo said the cityhood bid of Batac is forthcoming after the bill has been approved on third reading at the Senate.

“(When it becomes a city) the most important is it will get a bigger pie in the allocation of internal revenue allotment share as Batac moves from among 1,500 towns to one of 150 cities,” she said.

Cristina Arzadon, PIA-News Laoag

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