By Victor V. Saulon, Sub-Editor

BASIC Energy Corp. plans to set up a wind farm in Luzon in partnership with a foreign entity, said its top official, who described the proposal to be in the initial stage although a letter of interest has been submitted to the Energy department.

Ang (The) estimation is anywhere from 40 to 50 megawatts (MW),” Oscar L. de Venecia, Jr., president and chief executive officer of Basic Energy, told reporters after the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting in Makati City.

He declined to disclose the specific location of the project although the company has existing exploration sites in Luzon, including a geothermal energy project in Batangas that stands on a hilly location in the province.

“Next step is we attend to all the different meetings with the Department of Energy,” Mr. De Venecia said. “Then, we sit down with them and start negotiating the terms and conditions.”

The filing of application for a service contract will be up to the company to decide, he added.

Asked about what prompted the company to consider a wind energy project, he said the industry is “a little more stable” than solar energy at this time, with a “little less participants, and less competition.”

Mr. De Venecia said the decision to consider wind energy was also brought about by the declining cost of such projects.

“It’s of course [because] cost and equipment and materials are going down also. It’s also that the towers are improving,” he said.

He placed the cost of putting up a megawatt of wind energy at $1.5 million, although he declined to give an estimate of the total project cost.

The decline in cost and the improvement in the efficiency of wind towers mean putting up the same facility translates into more energy output.

“Whereas before, you’re looking at one mast and do 2 to 3 MW. Now, you’re looking at 4 to 5 MW,” he said. “If you break it down, if you’re looking at a 5-MW mast and it’s a 40 to 50 MW, we’re looking at around nine to 10 masts.”

Mr. De Venecia said the wind project is still with the company’s business development group, and has not yet been elevated to Basic Energy’s management for final decision.

“They’re still evaluating whether the data that we have right now and the forecasts for the project will merit us proceeding to apply for a service contract,” he said. “We still also have to talk to our partners.”

Funding for the project will depend on the agreed ownership structure with the foreign partner, which the official declined to identify, although the local company wants a majority stake of at least 60%, he said.

On Thursday, shares in Basic Energy slipped by 7.41% to P0.25 each.