29 April 2010

SBMA approves Chinese firm’s $75-M wind energy project

Amid intermittent power shortages, rising power rates and the quest for viable alternative energy sources, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) approved a $75-million wind energy project proposed by China-based Sunnew Investments Ltd.

“This is the answer to our energy problem,” said SBMA administrator Armand Arreza. “This will definitely lower the cost of power in the Freeport, and we could even help neighboring communities with surplus power from wind energy.”

Arreza disclosed that Sunnew-Subic has proposed to construct a total of 25 wind turbines in the Subic Bay Freeport, with the project covering a total area of 50,000 square meters at both the Mt. Sta. Rita and the Redondo Peninsula sites.

The sites, which both face the South China Sea, have strong wind currents all year round, “so the wind harvest is expected to be abundant,” Arreza added.

The project will produce about 50 megawatts (MW) of power by 2012, and will initially employ 103 workers.

Arreza and Sunnew Investments chairman Lee Yin Hung signed a 50-year lease contract for the proposed investment just days after the SBMA board of directors approved the wind energy project.

According to Lee, Sunnew’s investment in Subic Bay “would not only release the pressure of the power demand in this region, but also help realize the era of renewable energy in the Philippines.”

“In terms of economical efficiency, it is better than gas-fired power station,” Lee pointed out. “And it’s getting close to oil-fired power generation, so the cost of wind power generation is actually less than gas-fired power.”

Lee also said that his company is already operating similar wind energy facilities in Taiwan and China, and plans to expand to Australia, United States, and Vietnam.

Arreza said the Subic wind farm project is in line with the national government’s effort to tap alternative energy resources, as stipulated in Republic Act 9513, otherwise known as the Renewable Energy Act of 2008.

He added that renewable energy projects are included in the 2009 Investment Priorities Plan (IPP) issued by the national government to generate more jobs and attract more quality investments to the country.

Charles Chen of PRA Marketing Services Corp., which facilitated the entry of Sunnew in Subic, said that the Philippines “has a lot of potentials, especially business and employment opportunities” under the renewable energy sector.

“Not too many people realize that,” Chen added.

Sunnew Investments Ltd. is a subsidiary of Red Blades Windtek Holdings Ltd. and handles investments outside China for its mother company.

Red Blades Windtek Holdings Ltd. is said to be the only manufacturer of high-performance wind-turbine blades in China. The firm utilizes leading technology and advanced composites for multi-megawatt turbines in domestic and global markets. (SBMA Corporate Communications)

PHOTO: SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza (2nd from left) and Sunnew Investments chairman Lee Yin Hung (2nd from right) prepare to sign a lease contract for Sunnew’s $75-M wind farm project in the Subic Bay Freeport. With them are SBMA senior deputy administrator for business Stefani Saño, and Sunnew-Subic representative Robin Tan.