What Is the Future for Wind Energy in the Philippines?
06 October 2022 – by Eric Koons
Wind energy in the Philippines has long been neglected. However, as the country aims for 15.3 GW of renewable energy capacity in the grid by 2030, it is time to establish a more diversified approach to transitioning the Philippines’ grid and supplying power to the growing population. For this reason, the national renewable energy program plans on expanding its current wind energy capacity by 2,345 MW by 2027.
Why Is the Philippines Perfect for Wind Energy?
The potential offshore wind power capacity of the Philippines is 178 GW. The growing electricity demand due to the increasing population and growing standard of living means that energy in the Philippines is very expensive. This and the government’s major renewable energy goals make the country fertile for domestic and foreign investors and wind energy developers. Also, reduced wind power tariff is good for the wind energy sector.
In fact, the World Bank estimates that the Philippines could expand its total offshore wind capacity to 21 GW by 2040. The news is welcome for the country, as it plans to reduce its emissions by 75% by 2030. New offshore wind projects will help in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
How Many Wind Farms Are Already in the Philippines?
Although the Philippines offers a unique set of favourable conditions for the further growth of wind energy, it is important to understand the current state of affairs in the grid. Namely, the Philippines is facing an energy shortage, especially as the gas reserves supplying 30% of energy to Luzon are rapidly declining. In emergencies such as this, relying on the import of fossil fuels is the fastest solution but not the most practical in the long term.
When we look at the long-term advantages and disadvantages, it is clear that the country needs to speed up renewables development. In addition, the current state of the grid makes it challenging to add new capacity without costly grid modernisation and further heavy investments into new infrastructure.
The fact that the current energy market is dominated (at a staggering 80%) by a single utility (Meralco) is concerning. It remains to be seen whether Meralco is willing to approve the higher initial investments often associated with renewable capacity.
So far, there are eight large-scale wind farms in the Philippines:
|Wind Farm||Place||Commissioned in||Total Capacity|
|Bangui Wind Farm||Bangui, Ilocos Norte||2005||51.9 MW|
|Burgos Wind Farm||Ilocos Norte||2014||150 MW|
|Caparispisan Wind Farm||Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte||2013||81 MW|
|Nabas Wind Farm||Nabas, Aklan||2015||36 MW|
|Pagudpud Wind Farm||Caunayan and Balaoi in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte||2022||160 MW|
|Pililla Wind Farm||Pililla, Rizal||2016||54 MW|
|Puerto Galera Wind Farm||Puerto Galera, Mindoro Oriental||2019||48 MW|
|San Lorenzo Wind Farm||San Lorenzo, Guimaras||2015||54 MW|
What Is the Biggest Wind Farm in the Philippines?
Commissioned in 2014, the Burgos Wind Farm is the biggest wind farm and wind power project, with 50 wind turbines producing 3 MW of electricity each. Meanwhile, the entire farm has a total peak capacity of 150 MW and is connected to the Luzon Grid by a 43-kilometre long 115 kV transmission line. It is considered the best renewable energy project in the Philippines wind energy market.
Development of this wind power project took place in two phases spanning over a year. At the time of completion, it was the largest wind energy farm in Southeast Asia.
The Pagudpud Wind Power Plant
However, the Burgos Wind Farm will be overtaken by another wind energy project in the Philippines at the end of 2022: the Pagudpud Wind Farm. It will consist of 32 wind turbines and have an installed capacity of 160 MW. It will increase renewable energy supply.
Still, the Pagudpud Wind Farm lags behind the top 10 wind farms in the world. With wind farm capacities ranging from 659 MW to 20 GW, this list almost exclusively consists of facilities in the UK, the United States and China.
The Future of Wind Power in the Philippines
Considering the urgent need to switch to renewables, decrease carbon emissions and meet the Philippines’ ambitious decarbonisation goals, the field of wind energy is ready for growth. With several high-capacity wind energy projects in place and more to come, it has become necessary for the Philippines to also consider exploiting some of the 178 GW of offshore wind potential.
by Eric Koons
Eric is a passionate environmental advocate that believes renewable energy is a key piece in meeting the world’s growing energy demands. He received an environmental science degree from the University of California and has worked to promote environmentally and socially sustainable practices since. Eric’s expertise extends across the environmental field, yet he maintains a strong focus on renewable energy. His work has been featured by leading environmental organizations, such as World Resources Institute and Hitachi ABB Power Grids.Read more