The Philippines inaugurated its first hybrid wind-diesel power plant in December. The installation, on Batan Island in the country's central Batanes province, comprises three 60 kW turbines from the French small turbine manufacturer Vergnet, and two 500 kW diesel generators. The wind turbines meet the island's total power needs from late afternoon to early morning, when the winds are at their strongest, after which the generators take over. The system is designed so that additional turbines can be added as demand increases. This is the first time Batan has had round the clock power. First Philippine Energy Corp developed the project in collaboration with Advanced Energy Systems of Australia on behalf of state-owned National Power Corps (Napocor), which also operates the plant. Napocor expects to save around PHP 2.5 million (EUR 34,000) a year in fuel costs. Energy Secretary Vincent S Perez said at the inauguration ceremony that the project was "a strong showcase of the government's commitment to renewable energy" and hoped it would be replicated elsewhere in the Philippines. "Amid the rising cost of fossil fuels," he continued, "it signals the beginning of our independence from imported oil." Vergnet says there is strong interest from public and private organizations to implement additional wind energy projects.
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