PHP360 Billion offshore wind project in Ilocos Norte, on track – DTI Chief

Regarding the Philippines as one of the world’s best locations for offshore wind and moving up alongside some of the world’s most prominent players in renewable energy as more companies and businesses are transitioning to cleaner power sources, Danish renewable energy developer Copenhagen Energy A/S (CE)’s €6 billion (PHP360 billion) offshore wind project in Ilocos Norte is on track of making it happen in the Philippines.

The project, BuhaWind Energy, a joint venture of CE with PetroGreen Energy Corp., involves the development of offshore wind power with wind turbine generators of about 15 to 20-megawatt capacity each in the waters off Burgos, Bangui, and Pagudpud town and is expected to be in commercial operation by 2028.

In a meeting with Copenhagen Energy Chief Executive Officer Mr. Jasmin Bejdic, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary and Board of Investments (BOI) Chairman Fred Pascual said he is pleased with the project implementation, noting that the company has already secured a service contract. The company is likewise generally on track and progressing with its community engagement, financial impact assessment, and national strategy.

For his part, Mr. Bejdic said his company is looking forward to the implementation of the project saying the Philippines remains a very promising business destination for floating wind towers. “With proper government support, we will be able to implement the project according to plan, noting Ilocos region as definitely one of the best resource for wind power.”

The follow-through meeting was one of the concrete results of the promotional activities conducted during the Presidential Visit to Brussels last December 2022, where the BOI and Copenhagen Energy discussed the latter’s plans to invest in the Philippines.

Further, the Secretary said the BOI is working closely with concerned government bodies such as the Office of the President (OP) and the Department of Energy (DOE) to further accelerate the start of the company’s commercial operations. It can be noted that the OP is also currently working on the issuance of an Executive Order that will enable the establishment of Green Lane, precisely for strategic investment projects such as this one.

“I am looking forward to the implementation of this project, especially since CE has already secured a Service Contract. They also already submitted a system impact study last week, which already included the electrical design and proposals on how to bring power to the grid,” Secretary Pascual shared. He likewise mentioned that the BOI is in close coordination with other government agencies involved to expedite the evaluation of the study.

The BOI, with its forged strategic partnership with local government units (LGUs), is likewise working closely with Ilocos Norte LGU for the alignment and collaboration on investment promotion, facilitation, and investor servicing activities to ensure that investors will have a seamless experience in doing business in the Philippines. The various collaborations between BOI and other government instrumentalities are reinforced by existing memorandums of agreements (MOAs) that BOI entered into with them. Most recently, the Board has signed a MOA with Governor Matthew Manotoc of Ilocos Norte. This MOA is set to also facilitate the renewable energy (RE) project of CE.

“We highly regard renewable energy projects, especially off-shore wind types, as game changers especially as more and more investors particularly in global value chains (GVCs) are looking for locations that provide solutions on net-zero carbon commitments of companies,” Secretary Pascual added.

Along this line, the Secretary further said that the BOI is also engaged with the World Bank (WB) on the implementation of its recommendations following their Offshore Wind Study last year. The WB ranked the Philippines as the 8th best location globally for offshore wind.

Earlier, Secretary Pascual announced the incoming massive investments in the renewable energy sector in 2023 as more companies are transitioning to cleaner power sources.

He also emphasized that renewable energy projects will again be a key driver for investments this year, especially following the removal of the foreign equity restriction. As of January 2023, the BOI is evaluating eight renewable energy projects worth PHP446 billion. This amount does not yet include the BuhaWind project which is at an advanced stage of entry as well as the PHP225 billion pump-storage and solar energy project.

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