DMCI eyes wind farm on Semirara Island

DMCI Power

DMCI Power Corporation (DPC) has disclosed plans to construct a 12-megawatt (MW) wind farm on Semirara Island in Antique.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, the energy company announced its preparations for the construction of a wind farm, which is expected to commence operations within 12 to 15 months.

DPC President Antonio Gatdula Jr. revealed that they are considering solar energy as a means to increase the supply on the island. However, their main focus and priority is the development of wind resources, as it has demonstrated the most promising potential.

Gatdula Jr. added that wind power has the potential to achieve a plant utilization rate of 33%, which is higher compared to a solar facility with a rate of only 17%. Additionally, the capital expenditure per megawatt for both solar and wind projects is nearly identical.

A 2001 study conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a laboratory under the United States Department of Energy, identified Semirara Island as having the most favorable wind resources in the Philippines. The study found that the wind corridors stretching from Luzon to Panay, including Semirara Islands and extending to the Cuyo Islands, demonstrate exceptional wind power density and speed. These areas are highly suitable for utility-scale or village power applications.

DPC is currently verifying the estimates to determine the exact location and capacity of the project.

In October 2022, Semirara Mining and Power Corporation (SMPC) restarted mining operations at the Narra site, one of their active mining locations, following the depletion of the Panian site in 2016. This development aligns with the ongoing planning for the wind farm project.

Operations at the Narra site were halted in March 2019 due to the need for “geotechnical solutions” to address the rising water seepage issues in the pit.

After SMPC reopened the south side of the Narra pit, significant limestone deposits were discovered, leading to increased water seepage and higher electricity requirements for pumping. To reduce reliance on diesel-powered machines, SMPC explored the possibility of utilizing wind or solar energy. However, the company ultimately chose to prioritize wind projects.

The wind farm’s 12 MW capacity will be allocated for the dewatering of the Narra pit, ensuring its energy needs are met. Additionally, the excess energy will be utilized to offset peak energy demands within the Semirara community.

Last year, SMPC implemented new wastewater treatment facilities, including the establishment of two settling ponds at the mining sites. These ponds were designed to capture and intercept silt generated during mining operations.