BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – A wind farm project in Sagada town, Mt. Province, which would be the first of its kind in the highlands, is dividing villagers.
The proposed project’s wind power measuring device was felled the other week.
The Sagada-Besao Windmill Corp. and PhilCarbon wind farm project’s 100 meters high anemometer tower installed at sitio Malebelba, Poblacion, Sagada was taken down June 5, 2013. The tower’s wire support was removed by unidentified suspects, leading the framework to fall to the ground and wrecking the P1.5-million worth anemometer.
The project is still facing various issues such as the trees that will be displaced, water systems that will be disrupted as well as other biodiversity issues.
The proposed 15-megawatt windfarm is being proposed along the windy Pilaw Ridge, which is between the boundary of Sagada and Besao towns.
Near the proposed windfarm are springs serving as sources of water for the residents of Poblacion, Sagada and nearby residents of Madongo and Bangaan barangays.
Windmill turbines measuring 80 feet in height and rotor blades 65 meters in diameter are feared to stunt trees.
Even the local DENR office via Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office- Mountain Province Director Manuel Pogeyed noted that “local particularities” have to be considered by the proposal.
Near Pilaw Ridge are fishponds and a pastureland of cows and carabaos.
The Pilaw-Ampakaw Ridge is also a path of birds migrating from Europe especially during the rainy months of August to October.
In other countries, bird paths are among those considered before the construction of any windmills project owing to its lethal effects to birds.
Sagada-Besao windfarm, if installed, will be the first in a mountainous area in the country.
Windmills in Bangui, Ilocos Norte are along the Bangui Bay off the shore of the West Philippine Sea.
Sagada along with other Cordillera communities is located within pine tree-clad mountainous areas reaching as high as Mt Pulag’s 2,992 meters above sea level in Benguet.
Local officials also want an environmental impact assessment as mandated in the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) and other related laws before a project is constructed in any indigenous peoples community.
The environmental study shall be done by Phil Carbon before the end of the year.
Initially, a barangay resolution by Patay village allowed Phil Carbon’s exploration of the area for a possible construction of a windfarm.
Meanwhile, some indigenous tribesmen in Sagada have condemned the felling of the anemometer.
Sagadan elder Jaime Dugao, a former town councilor said, “the study will allow us to know whether we are really capable of producing wind power.”
For a feasibility study to commence, a large amount of money is needed. Equipment alone entail funds as well as technical expertise of the people who will collate the daily findings and analyze these data.
Former Sagada mayor Thomas Killip, who served as Presidential Assistant for Northern Luzon-Cordillera during the term of President Arroyo, also said “the study is a mere confirmation,” of the area’s potential to produce wind power.
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