Ilocos giant windrowers
By Aleesus Manarang
It was only a few weeks back when former Vice President Al Gore visited the country. He is known to many as one of the hardcore advocates of green peace. He is very vocal in promoting the use of renewable resources as part of the needed moves of saving planet earth. And speaking of green energy producers, there stood giant sentinels of modern wind rowers at the heart of Ilocandia and one these sites is in Burgos Kapurpurawan. These are the modern windmills which were erected just a few years back to contribute in the much needed supply of electricity in the region. The construction is primarily for the generation of renewable energy by harnessing the typhoon blowing wind near the western Ilocos coastal margin. However, a big bonus of this huge physics project also brought the creation of tourism industry in the region.
In 1996, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) conducted a wind resource analysis and mapping study. It concluded that various areas in the Philippines are ideal for wind power installation. These areas include Bangui and Burgos towns in Ilocos Norte, Batanes and Babuyan Islands, which are north of Luzon and the higher interior terrain of Mindoro, Samar, Leyte, Panay, Negros, Cebu, Palawan and Eastern Mindanao. The study led to the inception of the wind farm project. NorthWind Power Development Corp. developed (and maintains and operates) the project, while Vestas Wind Systems, a Danish firm, supplied the wind turbine-generator units (WTGs) for the site, similar to those already found in Denmark. The project was to have been developed in three phases. The Kapurpurawan wind farm was commissioned in November 9, 2014 and upon its completion it became the largest wind farm in the country and in Southeast Asia, covering 600 hectares and three barangays of Burgos, namely Saoit, Poblacion and Nagsurot. The project was the first one to be nominated by the Department of Energy as eligible for the department's feed-in tariff scheme.
Ilocandia is always known for its beautiful tourist spots from the heritage and historic sites, rugged coastal margins down to the plantation of corn and tobacco. Today, the landscape is also propelled by these giant wind rowers that never fail to wow the seemingly dwarfed traveling audiences from the low ground.