Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Philippines is a forerunner in wind energy generation‏


MANILA (PNA) -- The Philippines is not third world in wind energy. In 2008, it remained sixth in Asia and the only Southeast Asian country ramping up wind power alongside its industrialized neighbors in the region.

With China producing 6.6 gigawatts (GW) of new installations last year, Asia became a new powerhouse in the global wind market which in 2008 became a US$ 47.5-billion industry, the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) reported Tuesday.

GWEC said global wind energy capacity exceeded 120.8 gigawatts (GW) by the end of 2008. Over 27 GW in new capacity came online last year, 36 percent more than in 2007.

“Wind energy is now an important player in the world’s energy markets,” GWEC announced in a statement, where it noted the rise of the U.S. as the world’s largest wind energy producer and the emergence of wind energy as the leading technology in Europe for the first time in 2008.

Asia accounted for 30 percent of new wind power installations put up last year, ending 2008 with 24.4 GW in total cumulative capacity.

Fifty percent of this comes from China alone as it doubled its capacity for the fourth year in a row, to land next only to the United States among the top performers of 2008.

On a cumulative scale, China is now ranked fourth in the world with the potential to overtake Germany and Spain by 2010, the GWEC said.

Quoting an official of the Chinese Renewable Energy Industry Association, it added that China would start to enter the U.K. and Japanese markets this year and to explore the U.S. market in coming years.

Aside from China, GWEC data showed the region’s top producers were India, with 1.8 GW new installations last year for a total 9.6 GW; Japan, 356 MW in 2008 for a total 1.88 GW; Taiwan, 81 megawatts (MW) in 2008 for a total 358 MW; and South Korea, 43 MW in 2008 for a total 236 MW.

The Philippines figured in the GWEC tally as the only Southeast Asian country ranked in Asia, with 8 MW new installed capacity for the year.

The Northwind Power Development Corp. landed the country on that list as it operates a total 33 MW of installed capacity out of its wind farm in Bangui, Ilocos Norte.

According to the Department of Energy, the Philippines has good potential for wind power due to its location on the fringes of the Asia-Pacific monsoon belt.

It said a 1999 study done by the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory determined that the country has over 10,000 square kilometers of windy land area. This could potentially produce 70 GW of installed capacity.

Aside from the Ilocos Region, which has the highest potential for wind energy utilization, other high potential wind farm sites in the country include Mountain Province, Cuyo Island, Basco, Catanduanes, Tagaytay City, Lubang and Cabra Islands, the western portions of Batangas, Guimaras, Masbate, the northeast coast of Negros Occidental, and Palawan.

The U.S. toppled Germany as the world’s top producer of wind energy last year. It produced over 8.3 GW of new capacity that raised the country’s total installed capacity by 50 percent to 25.17 GW by the end of the year.

Wind energy projects accounted for 42 percent of new power plants put up in the U.S. in 2008. The industry also created 35,000 new jobs during the year, bringing the sector’s cumulative employment to 85,000.

“The U.S. wind energy industry’s performance in 2008 confirms that wind is an economic and job creation dynamo,” the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) said in its own statement, quoting CEO Denise Bode.

But it noted the country’s economic and financial crunch woes have eroded this momentum with job cuts in the wind power manufacturing sector. The AWEA is looking to restore the industry’s momentum with the Obama Administration’s stimulus plan, it said in its January 27 statement.

Year 2008 also marked the first time that wind energy became the leading technology in Europe.

“On average, 20 wind turbines were installed for every working day of 2008. By the end of the year, a total of 160,000 workers were employed directly and indirectly in the sector, which saw investments of about EUR11 billion in the EU,” according to the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).

It announced Tuesday that 8.48 GW of new wind power capacity was installed in the European Union last year, accounting for 43 percent of all new electricity-generating capacity built in the region.

This exceeded numbers for gas, oil, coal and hydro power capacities that came onstream during the year, the EWEA pointed out.

The GWEC reported that total wind power installed capacity in Europe is about 66 GW, of which the EU accounts for almost 65 GW.

Based on GWEC data, Thailand, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Sri Lanka round out the wind energy capacity in Asia with combined installations of 6 MW as of end 2008. (PNA)

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