By ROBERT PANGOD
SAGADA, Mountain Province – The intent of renewable energy firm PhilCarbon to develop a 15-MW wind farm at the boundary of Sagada and Besao got an initial backing of the host communities in a consultation at the Sagada Town Hall last February 28.
“The reason for the support is that the project is non-polluting; it does not destroy the environment and it benefits the community”, said Rufino Bomas-ang, chairman of the board of PhilCarbon.
Bomas-ang said the proposed project would include building 25 wind turbines along the Pilao-Langsayan Ridge. With each turbine designed to generate 600 kilowatts, it would produce a total of 15 megawatts (MW).
Sagada Mayor Eduardo Latawan Jr. urged the consulting parties to consider the development opportunities offered by the renewable energy project.
“We must not be passive. Let it be pursued if the people will give their consent and if indeed it will benefit the masses,” Latawan said.
Mountain Province consumes five to six MW of electricity. The excess power it would generate could be sold to the Luzon grid, said Bomas-ang.
He also introduced the Sagada & Besao Power Corporation, a subsidiary of PhilCarbon, which will spearhead the development, construction, operation and maintenance of the Wind Power Plant.
Once built, the Sagada-Besao wind farm would be the second to be put into operation in Southeast Asia.
Ruth Yu-Owen, president of PhilCarbon, said the project will play a pivotal role in the development of host communities.
Once the wind mills starts generating power, the host LGU will automatically be entitled to royalty shares equivalent to P0.01 per kilowatt-hour generated”, explained Yu-Owen.
She said the royalty will be divided among the host LGUs with 25-percent going to the village, 40-percent to the municipality and 35-percent to the province.
In addition, Yu-owen assured the host municipalities that the firm will be paying its business permit and real property taxes to the local treasury to boost revenues. Through this, she is hopeful that Sagada and Besao would rise from 5th class to 4th class municipalities.
She expected the wind mills to become a major tourist attraction in Sagada and Besao, just like what happened to the coastal town of Bangui in Ilocos Norte.
“The place was completely unknown until the windmills were built there. Today, tourists flock the area to see the windmills not only as a source of clean energy but to experience their towering magnificence,” Yu-Owen explained.