Gov Marcos aims for community-owned power plants in Ilocos Norte


May. 15, 2017 ...

Governor Imee R. Marcos at the Asia CEO Forum in March 8, 2017, shared her aim to ensure that land used for renewable energy projects in Ilocos Norte is eventually turned over to Ilocano farmers for ownership, maintaining corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Ilocos Norte is already home to three windfarms, including the 150-megawatt Burgos Wind Project which is the largest windfarm project in Southeast Asia. Also located inside the windfarm is a 7MW solar farm, the first in the world according to the Department of Energy.

"We are trying to reduce the intermittence of the renewable sources. Sometimes there's no wind, so the solar kicks in," Governor Marcos explained, "we're trying combinations of solar and wind as well as solar and hydro."

Aside from environmental conservation, her long-term goal through such projects is to have community-owned power plants.

"We have one small 1MW plant that's now powering up about five barangays," she said, "we are hopeful that in the future they will be owned by the farmers because after all, the land belongs to them."

She also pointed out that the province had been in the past subject to extensive brownouts because "we're at the end of the transmission grid... any little leaf, any bird, crashes into the wires, and we'd have no light."

It then became clear to her that Ilocos Norte had to produce an alternative for energy production while also minimizing damage to the environment, saying, "Given our wealth of wind and solar resources, we don't see the need to embark upon huge coal-fired plants.

"It's simply not necessary," reiterating their ongoing experiment to "combine all these intermittent resources... and maybe one day we can loop them all and complete the grid."

She also recently renewed the province's commitment to be coal-free, saying that while the use of fossil fuel may never really go away, "at least we can diminish the damage on the planet and we can keep our Ilocano biodiversity."

Both environmental conservation and CSR intensify Governor Marcos' second pillar for provincial development: sustainability, requiring both a healthy environment and economic productivity for Ilocanos.