Freddie G. Lazaro
LAOAG CITY – Ilocos Norte continues to strengthen its global presence as a center for renewable energy in Southeast Asia marching on to harness the power of water, wind and the sun as sources of green energy for the country.
In 2013, the province broke ground for more wind power projects namely the multi- million 87 MW Burgos wind farm project in April and the 81 MW Pagudpud wind farm in September.
The two big wind farm projects will supplement the existing wind farm in Bangui with its 31 megawatt (MW) renewable energy wind farm.
Following the launch of a 20 MW solar energy project in Barangay Paguludan in Currimao town in 2012, two more solar power plants were mulled in the towns of Badoc and Pinili with the signing of separate Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between officials from the two local government and a Korean company in August.
Since the 1980s, the province has been feeding clean energy to Ilocos Norte residents through two mini-hydropower plants along Agua Grande River along the Pancian and Pasaleng rivers, all in Pagudpud town.
Both plants, built under the late President Ferdinand Marcos, with a capacity of five megawatts, supply power to at least 17,000 households in Pagudpud and nearby villages in Bangui, Pasuquin and Bacarra towns.
The first wind farm in Southeast Asia, located in Ilocos Norte’s northern town of Bangui, was built in 2006. It initially fed power to the province and later to the spot market.
In the arts and cultural front, festivals have added color to town celebrations and, in the process, drew more tourists looking for unique culture and practices.
Tourism has also made Ilocos Norte the envy of other Ilocos provinces churning droves of tourists to various destinations and newly-opened tourist sites.
Last year, the Marcos heritage walk was opened in Sarrat town complimented by a heroes walk at the provincial capital featuring the first nine illustrious sons and daughters of Ilocos Norte.
A tribal village in Nueva Era town also made its soft-opening in December. (MCA/FGL PIA 1 Ilocos Norte)