Bongbong Marcos errs in claiming Ilocos Norte is brownout-free


Ilocos Norte still experiences power outages even with its three wind power plants, contrary to a recent claim of former senator and defeated vice presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. that his province is brownout-free.


The latest power interruption in Ilocos Norte, according to the Ilocos Norte Electric Cooperative (INEC) website, occurred on June 5, the very day Marcos uploaded to his Facebook and YouTube accounts his vlog “Kuryente” containing the erroneous claim.


Marcos, the son of the late dictator and his namesake, said in his vlog at around the 3:10 mark:

Kaya mula noong natayo yung windmill, hindi na kami nagbabrownout dahil basta’t umiihip ang hangin ay meron kaming kuryente (Ever since the windmills were built, we haven’t experienced brownouts. As long as the winds blow, we have a source of electricity).

Marcos was governor of Ilocos Norte from 1998 to 2007. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 2007 and to the Senate in 2010. He ran for vice president in 2016 but lost to Leni Robredo.


The wind power plant in Bangui became operational on Oct. 10, 2014 and the Burgos Wind Power Project and the Capaprisan Wind Power Project a month later. The three wind farms cumulatively generate up to 283 megawatts of electricity.


Contrary to Marcos’ claim, Ilocos Norte has had multiple power interruptions due to, among other reasons, power line maintenance operations by INEC, the sole electricity distribution utility in the province.


The June 5 power interruption affected most areas in Badoc, Currimao and Batac for two 30-minute periods, and Pinili for 10 hours due to what INEC said was the “relocation of distribution line” and “simultaneous distribution line maintenance.”

INEC's power interruption notice
INEC's power interruption notice

The “Power Interruption” section on the INEC website shows there have been 130 days where a power interruption has been scheduled in at least one municipality or city in Ilocos Norte since Jan. 14, 2020 alone.


The presence of wind alone doesn’t guarantee the conversion of wind energy into steady electrical energy for households in Ilocos Norte, contrary to what Marcos said.


Not all kinetic energy present in wind is converted into electrical energy in the process of turning the blades of wind turbines. Theoretically, only up to 59 percent of total wind energy can be converted to electrical energy; modern wind-based power plants extract an estimate of 50 percent wind energy into conversion for electricity, according to a fact sheet of the University of Michigan Center for Sustainable Systems.


Wind turbines do not produce electrical energy all the time due to the intermittent nature of wind, according to a chapter on wind energy published in a WIT Press book.


There are periods when winds blow below the cut-in speed (the minimum speed needed for a wind turbine to produce electricity) and above the cut-out speed (the maximum speed of wind where turbines remain safely operational). The typical cut-in speed for wind turbines is clocked at around 3-4 m/s, an article in the journal Applied Energy said.


Nonetheless, the local government of Ilocos Norte has adopted various measures over the years that prioritize the utilization of renewable sources of energy.


In addition to the three wind farms, Provincial Resolution 017-2016 was passed in 2016 prohibiting the issuance of permits that allow development of coal-based energy projects.


Last May, it was announced that a new 160 MW wind farm will be constructed in Pagudpud.


Marcos’ vlog has received over 211,000 views, 25,000 reactions, 2,000 comments, and 4,800 shares on Facebook, while it has received 76,949 views, 8,900 likes (against 89 dislikes), and 1,620 comments on YouTube. (JP)


References


AC Energy. (2021, May 19). AC Energy gears up to develop the Philippines’ largest wind farm. https://www.acenergy.com.ph/2021/05/ac-energy-gears-up-to-develop-the-philippines-largest-wind-farm/


Bongbong Marcos. (2021, June 5). BBM VLOG 162: Kuryente Brownout at mahal na kuryente?Nasolusyunan na ito noon pa. Tignan natin ang mga ginawang pamamaraan… [Video attached] [Facebook post]. Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/BongbongMarcos/videos/852032375386258


Bongbong Marcos. (2021, June 5). BBM VLOG #162: Kuryente | Bongbong Marcos [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rd8FiHcWkg


Department of Energy. (2021, March 31). Eligible re power plants for renewable portfolio standards (RPS) compliance for on-grid and off-grid areas. https://www.doe.gov.ph/sites/default/files/pdf/renewable_energy/eligible_re_power_plants_for_rps_compliance_03312021.pdf


Dupont, E., Koppelaar, R., & Jeanmart, H. (2018). Global available wind energy with physical and energy return on investment constraints. Applied Energy, 209, 322–338. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2017.09.085


Ilocos Norte bans coal power plants. (2016, October 2). The Philippine Star. https://www.philstar.com/business/2016/10/02/1629342/ilocos-norte-bans-coal-power-plant


Ilocos Norte board OKs ban on coal power plants. (2016, September 29). Philippine Daily Inquirer. https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/820065/ilocos-norte-board-oks-ban-on-coal-power-plants


Ilocos Norte Electric Cooperative. (2021). June 05 2021 – Ilocos Norte Electric Cooperative. Retrieved June 7, 2021 from https://inec-ec.com/power-interruptions/


Tong, W. (2010). Fundamentals of wind energy. In Wind power generation and wind turbine design (pp. 3-48). WIT Press.


University of Michigan Center for Sustainable Systems. (2020). Wind Energy Factsheet [Fact sheet]. http://css.umich.edu/sites/default/files/Wind%20Energy_CSS07-09_e2020.pdf