|Written by Leilanie Adriano / Correspondent|
|Wednesday, 05 August 2009 19:52|
|LAOAG CITY, Ilocos Norte—A total of 40 wind turbines, expected to generate 80 megawatts of electricity from wind power, will soon be erected in Pagudpud, a town in the northernmost part of Ilocos Norte province, after the Northern Luzon UPC Asia Corp., an affiliate of UPC Renewables, one of the fastest-growing wind developers in the world, launched its wind-power development here.
Troels Carstensen, managing director and vice president of UPC wind management, said on Tuesday at least 102 hectares in Pagudpud have been leased by UPC with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for 25 years. Under the lease agreement, UPC will utilize the government land for the renewable-energy project with an annual land lease of P2.7 million.
That same day, Carstensen handed over two checks amounting to P2.7 million as first-year payment of the land-lease agreement to the DENR, represented by regional director Remillio Atabay, at the office of Ilocos Norte Gov. Michael Keon.
Earlier, wind developers from UPC Asia had conducted wind survey in the municipalities of Pasuquin, Burgos and Pagudpud and also in the provinces of Pangasinan and Nueva Ecija. Study results, however, showed that Pagudpud has the best wind source, Carstensen said in an interview.
Carstensen said investors and developers of renewable energy like UPC have become interested to invest in the country following the national government’s signing of the renewable-energy law that gives incentives to foreign and local developers, suppliers, manufacturers and end-users of renewable energy.
Republic Act 9513, otherwise known as the Renewable Energy Act of 2008, specifically ensures that a big percentage of the government share that goes to the host community shall be used to lower the electric bill of consumers that do not use more than 100 kilowatt-hours per month.
Also, the corporate-tax rate of renewable energy-generation companies has been lowered from the usual 30 percent to just 10 percent after the seven-year income-tax holiday. The law states that recipient companies may only use this incentive if they pass on the savings on their income-tax expenditures to consumers in the form of lower power rates.
In addition, farmers who are engaged in the plantation of biomass resources such as, but not limited to, jatropha, coconut and sugar cane do not have to pay duties and value-added tax for all types of agricultural inputs such as fertilizers, insecticides, pesticides, machineries and others.
The Pagudpud wind farm, which is next to the neigboring Bangui wind- power project of Northwind Development Corp., hopes to establish cooperation with Ilocos Norte in terms of producing environment-friendly electricity not only for local residents here, but also in its neighboring provinces, Carstensen said.
The second wind-power farm in the province cost about $480 million, which was obtained through a combination of export credit from Europe and in cooperation with local banks for renewable-energy projects, Carstensen added. He reported that development in the 102-hectare land area will commence before the end of this year while the construction of the first UPC wind turbine will start in early 2010.
For his part, Keon told residents here that with the increasing number of foreign and local developers interested in renewable energies such as the establishment of wind farms, he expects that electricity rates will definitely be lowered.