Protests greet Pagudpud wind farm launch

by April Rafales, ABS-CBN News Ilocos

Posted at Nov 22 2014 12:05 AM | Updated as of Nov 22 2014 08:06 AM

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Ilocos Norte's bid to address energy needs in the country continues, with the inauguration of the third wind farm in the province.

After the launch of the Bangui and Burgos wind farms, an 81-megawatt Pagudpud wind farm was commissioned on November 11.

“We can produce at the full capacity of each turbine, but it depends on the wind and the grid conditions,” said John Eric Francia of Ayala Company Energy Holdings, Inc.

He said the project costs more than $200 million.

Senator Bongbong Marcos and Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos attended the inauguration.

They emphasized the potential and the need for such project in the country.

“There are many areas that are needing extra capacity in terms of production so I hope it will serve as an example and an encouragement to everybody else that kung pupwede sa kanila, dapat maglagay din sila ng mga ganito,” the senator said.

The developer, North Luzon Renewable Energy Corporation (NLREC), said it doesn't have any expansion plans yet.

The Pagudpud wind farm is also expected to benefit from the government-issued feed-in tariff for renewable energy.

The Department of Energy first nominated the 150-megawatt Burgos wind farm developed by the Energy Development Corporation early this month.


A group of residents from Bangui appeared at the entrance of the wind farm site in protest of the NLREC wind farm transmission lines put near their homes. They were not allowed to get past the gate because of the tight security.

They waited for about 3 hours to talk to a representative from the NLREC.

“Huwag ninyo kaming patayin, ilayo sa aming mga kabahayan ang mga towers. Pakinggan ang mga hinaing ng mga apektado na mga mamamayan,” read one placard in red letters.

“Sa kabuuan po sana, first gusto naming iparating sa mga authorities, especially the governor, yung hinaing namin na mga residente na apektado ng mga transmission lines,” said Jovel Castillo of Brgy. Malasin.

They are protesting the construction of transmission lines without their approval, low-hanging power cables carrying 230,000 volts above their roofs, the non-payment to the residents and owners of trees that the company cut down to give way to the lines, among others.

Marcelo Baloaloa said he came to protest despite the cold weather.

NLREC president Wilfredo Penaflor, meanwhile, told ABS-CBN News that, “They have initiated the process [expropriation case]. That’s what our lawyers told us.”

Referring to the injunction case filed by the Sevilleja family from Brgy. Dadaor, he said, “We are not allowed to make a comment beyond what the court as done today.”

Atty. Golda Arquillo, who is representing the complainant, declined to comment about the case.

No one from the NLREC faced the protesters but Governor Marcos promised to send a team to inspect the affected areas.

“Hindi ko lang alam kung kalian,” said one resident, Elena Acoba.