Editorial: Wind as source of electricity

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

USE of renewable energy has been the mantra of environmentalists, both in Cebu and abroad. Renewable energy sources include solar, hydro, geothermal, biomass, hydrogen, ocean (waves and tides) and wind.

Finally, we have Amihan Energy Corp. (AEC), together with Mudajaya Berhad of Malaysia and Dongturbo Electric Co. Ltd. of China, presenting to Gov. Hilario Davide III their intention to construct windmills in parts of Balamban and the cities of Cebu and Toledo. That would encompass a total land area of 20,000 hectares.

Being a major project, the proposal should be subjected to deeper study by the Capitol. Decision-making should not be rushed or based solely on what AEC and its partners are claiming.


Windmills that AEC wants to build are essentially turbines that harness the motion of the wind to make mechanical energy that is then converted to electrical energy. The key phrase there is wind motion.

The first question, then, is how efficient would the windmills constructed in the western part of central Cebu be in relation to the strength of the wind regularly blowing in the area?

AEC said it had studied Cebu and its wind energy for seven years. Still, there’s a need to get the help of experts to check the claim and to ensure the windmills’ efficiency and the reliability of power supply.

Cost is another matter. While there is a consensus that the cost of producing wind energy has decreased considerably, how low would AEC go in charging consumers for the electricity that they would sell while getting a decent return of investment?

In the end, the rates per kilowatt-hour of electricity that they would collect would be compared with those collected by producers using the much-maligned coal-fired power plants.

And not be overlooked are the peripherals. The windmills won’t be constructed in a desert like in California but in populated and farmed hinterlands.

Land use can be simultaneous, meaning that farms can co-exist with the windmills, but the effect of the construction and operation of the windmills in targeted communities needs further study (the operation of those windmills, for example, generates noise).

Using renewable energy is good, but that does not mean offers to source it, like the one AEC and its partners presented to the governor, should no longer be subjected to deeper scrutiny.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 16, 2014.


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