AYALA-LED ACEN Corp. is targeting to increase the capacity of its Pagudpud wind project to 135 megawatts (MW) by year-end, the company’s top official said.

“We’re going to be targeting to get this to 135 MW from 80 MW.  We’re hoping by the end of the year [or] the beginning of next will be the approximate timing for the second phase,” Eric T. Francia, president and chief executive officer of ACEN, told reporters during the launch of the company’s wind project in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte.

For its first phase, which was inaugurated last week, the P11.8-billion wind project has a projected installed capacity of 160 MW, although only 50% or about 80 MW is operational for now to meet the urgency of adding power to the grid.

Mr. Francia said ACEN expects the Pagudpud wind project to be fully operational no later than December 2025 in time for the government’s green energy auction program.

The program provides an additional market for renewables through competitive electronic bidding of renewable energy capacities. A second round of bidding is scheduled for next month with the proposed installation targets in megawatts from 2024 to 2026.

Once operational, ACEN’s Pagudpud wind farm is set to become the largest in the country comprising 32 wind turbine generators, with each turbine able to generate about 5 MW.

To date, ACEN has three operating wind projects in Ilocos Norte, the other two being the 52-MW NorthWind wind farm along the shores of Bangui Bay, and the 81-MW under North Luzon Renewables Energy Corp.

The Pagudpud wind project alone has generated more than 1,200 jobs since its construction in 2019, ACEN said.

Currently, ACEN’s wind portfolio in the Philippines is at 416 MW, of which 266 MW is operational while 150 MW is under construction.

Mr. Francia said that the energy company is also targeting to finish its 70-MW Capa wind project, which is also located in Pagudpud, by 2025.

“First few phases should be complete within the next 12 months and the ultimate target is before 2025 to complete everything,” he said.

Aside from the vast opportunity of onshore wind potential, ACEN is also looking at the potential of offshore wind resources.

“I think that’s the next big opportunity in Ilocos. I think there’s still quite a bit of onshore wind opportunities but I think the bigger opportunity is offshore and the one constraint that needs to be addressed is transmission,” Mr. Francia said.

Mr. Francia said that the “northern loop” will be crucial in unlocking the potential wind resources in the Ilocos region. The loop connects Ilocos Norte to Cagayan province, which will unlock the full potential of renewable energy in the north.

“Hopefully, that’s in the transmission development plans to really make the northern loop happen and to build it in such a way that it would harness all the potential here in Ilocos Norte,” Mr. Francia said. — Ashley Erika O. Jose