Europeans are sick and tired of seeing windmills but in the Philippines where these tall, sleek, and white towers of power and beauty are still a novelty, the Bangui windmills are a veritable tourist spot in this otherwise unremarkable Ilocos Norte town. Operated by the NorthWind Power Development Corporation (NWPDC), a Danish company, these windmills generate around 25 MW of electricity and provides about 40% of Ilocos Norte’s power requirements. Phase 1 of the project constructed 15 windmills with each one 325m distant from the next and stretching for almost 3 kilometers along the Bangui Bay coastline facing the South China Sea. There’s supposed to be a Phase 2 that will increase the number of windmills to 20 in 2008 but I can’t find any information that this additional construction indeed pushed through. Update (July 19): due to additional satellite imagery added by Google on July 14, I can confirm that there are at least 19 turbines now, so Phase 2 indeed pushed through.
The Bangui farm is usually stated as the first wind farm in the Philippines and the largest in Southeast Asia (no other country in SEA has the wind potential of typhoon-ravaged Philippines). But the windmills of Bangui are not actually the first wind farm. If my research is correct, the 3-windmill 180-kWh wind farm in Mahatao, Batanes, which I’ve featured before, was constructed earlier. But the Mahatao farm is a hybrid diesel-wind farm and that makes the Bangui farm the first pure wind farm. I wasn’t able to feature the Bangui Wind Farm before now since it was only late last month that Google added high-resolution satellite imagery of this area. In fact, only the 10 westernmost wind turbines are covered by the imagery. The rest cannot be seen. Update (July 19): due to additional satellite imagery added by Google on July 14, we can now see 19 turbines.
Incidentally, the windmill in the thumbnail picture above is the third one from the west. If you check it out in Google Maps and pan a bit to the southwest, you can see a couple of buildings and I am assuming that this is the visitor center that NWPDC constructed to cater to the throngs of tourists that flock to this area.
If you want more information, then this PCIJ feature article doesn’t disappoint.