Wind energy flying high in Pulupandan

Feature story - May 4, 2004
Greenpeace today joined the community of Pulupandan in launching the second stage of the proposed Pulupandan Wind Energy Development initiative, a key component of the larger Green Renewable Independent Power Producer project (GRIPP) in the province.

Community leaders from the Pulupandanons Against the Coal Plant (PPAC), Negrosanons Against the Coal Plant (NACP), local officials and GRIPP partner organizations led the ceremony. A 40-meter permanent tower that houses a wind measurement device was inaugurated on the same site once considered the home of numerous anti-coal activities. The equipment will take regular wind measurements for a period of two years to determine if building an energy source using wind is commercially feasible.

"Pulupandan's wind energy potential is promising because the municipality is exposed to Amihan, which is the northeast monsoon, and Habagat, the southwest monsoon. Measured from a height of 40 meters, preliminary data showed an average wind speed of 7.5 meters per second which in fact is 2 meters per second higher than the average German wind speed," said Engr. Silverio Navarro, technical consultant to the GRIPP project.

According to Greenpeace, wind power today is a worldwide success story. Despite its youth as an industry, wind power has gone a long way supplying electricity to millions of households, employing thousands of people and generating millions of dollars in revenue.

"This is a fitting statement for the people of Pulupandan who have opposed the building of a coal-fired power plant on the very same spot where the wind tower now stands. We want clean energy-based development", said Ella Jacildo, head of the Pulupandanons Against the Coal-Fired Power Plant (PPAC).

GRIPP, led by Greenpeace, is a public-private partnership of non-government organizations, people's organizations, international civil society and the renewable energy business sector calling for a renewable energy-based development of Negros. Following a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed in 2002 by Governor Joseph Mara?on with the GRIPP project team and the Department of Energy; the project has recently garnered further political endorsements. The Municipal Council of Pulupandan, the Provincial Board of Negros Occidental and the Barangay Council of Patic have all recently passed resolutions "unanimously favorably endorsing the wind energy development initiative".

"This overwhelming support from various local government units is a heartwarming complement to the community's efforts aimed at clean energy. The victory of the Pulupandan community is a historic victory against dirty, obsolete and climate-damaging technologies. The communities have spoken. They have chosen clean energy," said Athena Ronquillo-Ballesteros, Greenpeace International Climate and Energy campaigner and a resident of Negros.

Greenpeace together with various other international organizations have launched a campaign this year to seek governmental support for massive investments in renewable energy technologies. "This is part of our global climate and energy campaign to get governments worldwide to adopt clear renewable energy targets and a timetable for clean energy implementation in the lead-up to and at this years Bonn Renewables 2004 Conference," Ballesteros said. "We want to showcase the renewable energy revolution occurring in Negros and are actively seeking investors and developers to help Pulupandan and Negros harness the commercial viability of renewable energy, especially wind."

Considered as one of the most critical environmental threats to humankind today, climate change is anticipated by scientists to have adverse effects on the planet, especially on poorer more vulnerable countries like the Philippines. Among its projected impacts are rising sea levels and the likelihood of an increase in frequency and severity of extreme weather events such as storms, droughts and flooding.