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Proposed windfarm over town watershed creates controversy  

Credit:  By Gina Dizon | Northern Philippine Times | December 16, 2012 | northphiltimes.blogspot.com ~~

SAGADA, Mountain Province – A proposed windfarm here, to be constructed over a watershed and considered the first in the country, is generating controversy as the company which will build it has not yet sufficiently answered questions on its viability and effect on the environment.

PhilCarbon chairman Rufino Bumasang said he is not the right person to answer technical questions related to the proposed facility atop Langsayan- Pilaw ridge when asked by radio staff and listeners in a panel interview here at Radio Sagada last Dec. 8.

Questions included effects on water systems and growth of trees of wind turbines.

The Langsayan-Pilaw site for the proposed windfarm is a critical watershed which cradles water supply to nearby barangays of the northern areas of Sagada- Bangaan, Madongo, Aguid, Pide and Fidelisan- and water- needy Poblacion including nearby barangays of the neighboring municipality of Besao.

Bumasanga, an engineer who sits as chairman of the Manila-based Philcarbon firm said the project shall avoid hitting water sources.

He added PhilCarbon shall soon provide technical details of the project.

Tons of cement, aluminum and steel are the foundation of wind turbines. As to how tall, deep and wide the turbines are and its effect on the environment is not within the knowledge of Bumasang who said the right people to answer the technical questions shall be the executive officers of the company’s project.

The facility, with height measuring to as high as 80 meters and rotor blades measuring some 65 meters long is projected to generate 15 megawatts of electrical energy.

The number of turbines to be built on the mountain ridge is not yet determined. One megawatt is projected to cost $24.8 million each.

In the same development, Bumasang said an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) had already been issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for the project.

Provincial Environmental Environment and Natural Resources Office PENRO) for Mountain Province Officer Manuel Pogeyed said he has not yet seen a copy of the windfarm’s ECC nor Environmental Impact Assessment supposed to be undertaken by Philcarbon.

The EIA is a pre-requisite to the issuance of an ECC.
Pogeyed said in a separate interview the ECC shall be subjected to validation by communities affected.

A consultation was conducted May this year where Pogeyed stressed “local particularities” have to be taken note of by Philcarbon in its windfarm project.

Philcarbon through its president Ruth Owen has said during the May consultation that the firm shall be conducting an environmental impact study before the year ends. The proposed windmills, should this pursue is the first windfarm to be built on a watershed in the country.

When asked on whether or not there is lack of electricity needs in Mountain Province, Bumasang said there is a need to stabilize the grid and minimize brownouts.

Another concern posed during said panel interview are carbon credits which moves Philcarbon to do the project. Bumasang said he “does not know anything about that”.

Though Ruth Owen in an interview last May said PhilCarbon is entering into the windfarm project because of the availability of carbon credits.

European Carbon Fund for one, purchases carbon credits. One megawatt installed of wind energy creates a yearly carbon revenue of 15,000 to 20,000 Euro in hard currency.

Bumasang said that share of host communities on income generated from the proposed windfarm can be ‘negotiated’.

Source:  By Gina Dizon | Northern Philippine Times | December 16, 2012 | northphiltimes.blogspot.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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