THE Department of Energy (DoE) said the nascent offshore wind industry will be served by “smart and green” infrastructure to link the wind turbines to the power grid.

Energy Assistant Secretary Mylene C. Capongcol said in a Viber message on Monday that the department is developing the system “that will define the grid interconnection support” for offshore wind (OSW) projects in aid of the renewable energy (RE) transition.

She made the remarks in response to Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian’s call for the government to hasten the development of transmission facilities for OSW projects.

“The country would be better positioned to attract RE investment if transmission facilities are readily available for these RE facilities, particularly for OSW farms,” Mr. Gatchalian said in a statement on Sunday.

To date, the DoE has awarded 79 OSW service contracts this year with a potential capacity of 61.931 gigawatts. All are currently under development.

The DoE has said it is studying upgrades to ports that will serve offshore wind projects, with technical assistance from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Nine such ports have been identified, including Currimao, Ilocos Norte; Iloilo City; Bacolod City; Batangas City, Port Irene, Sta. Ana, Cagayan, as well as sites in Camarines Sur and Mindoro.

“These are areas with the highest wind potential and also the areas where there is a clustering of the offshore wind energy service contracts,” Energy Undersecretary Giovanni Carlo J. Bacordo told BusinessWorld.

Mr. Bacordo said the feasibility study on such works will be completed by April or May.

“(With the) feasibility study, I’m expecting that ADB will identify what ports are ideal for marshaling, manufacturing, operations and maintenance,” he said. “I expect also that this will also include the budget that is needed for an identified port to be repurposed.”

Marshaling ports serve as staging grounds to assemble wind turbines, which Mr. Bacardo said will require the most investment.

Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC) President Oliver B. Butalid has said the company plans to redevelop its 19.2-hectare property in Mabini, Batangas into an integration port to serve OSW projects.

“PNOC manifested its intention to repurpose its existing port for offshore wind, so we look at this move by the PNOC president as a catalyst… (to) sending a strong signal to the private sector that the government is serious in its offshore wind efforts,” Mr. Bacordo said.

“There’s going to be a heavy capital requirement for the repurposing of existing ports. The (private sector) has to be convinced that there will be returns on their investment and that the government will serve as a partner,” he said.

Mr. Bacordo said that the port in Currimao will need about P4.8 billion to be repurposed into an OSW port meeting international standards.

“We’re hoping for the private sector to come in for a PPP (public-private partnership) project on these identified ports so that the other ports may also be developed as marshaling ports,” he said.

Asked whether there will be construction of new ports, he said: “As per advice from the experts, it is cheaper and faster to repurpose existing ports rather than to build a port from scratch.”

Mr. Bacordo said that the DoE is closely collaborating with the Department of Transportation and the Philippine Ports Authority on the project.

“I am expecting that by the period 2028 to 2030, we’ll be seeing a lot of public works projects — we’re expecting a lot of activities related to offshore wind like already the deployment of offshore wind turbines in the areas of the highest wind potential,” Mr. Bacordo said. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera