9 ports eyed for redevelopment to host offshore wind projects

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Currimao port. Screengrab from DOTr/PPA's video presentation in March 2022.
  • Nine ports are eyed for redevelopment to host offshore wind projects, says the Department of Energy
  • DOE and the Asian Development Bank will assess the ports for repurposing as the country gears for offshore wind farm readiness
  • The ports are mainly in Luzon and Visayas, such as Currimao Port in Ilocos Norte, Port Irene in Cagayan Valley, and the Energy Supply Base Port of the Philippine National Oil Company in Batangas

At least nine ports are being eyed for redevelopment by the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to host requirements of offshore wind projects.

Through a grant, the ADB is conducting a study with the energy department to assess nine ports that can be repurposed as part of the country’s infrastructure readiness for offshore wind farms, Energy assistant secretary Mylene Capongcol said on October 3.

The two agencies initially identified ports based mostly in Luzon and Visayas, such as the Currimao Port in Ilocos Norte, Port Irene in Cagayan Valley, the Energy Supply Base Port of the Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) in Batangas, and other ports in Batangas, Mindoro, Bacolod, and Iloilo.

Capongcol said the government has awarded a total of 79 offshore wind service contracts to date, with a potential capability of producing 61.93 gigawatts of clean power, during the Wind Energy Forum of the Nordic Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Inc. in Quezon City.

The energy official said the readiness of port infrastructure is one of the “critical” requirements for developers when constructing offshore wind projects.

However, she added none of the existing ports in the country can meet the standards for offshore wind projects, as these require sufficient water depths and wider access channels.

“We just started the study. There will be [a] series of meetings with ADB to determine the readiness or what kind of upgrading [is] needed to meet the standards for offshore wind development,” she said.

The DOE expects to complete the study next year.

Capongcol said the port developer should lead the redevelopment project and shared that the increasing service contracts will attract new players’ interest in developing the projects.

The identified ports are owned by both private entities and local government units (LGUs).

In the same forum, NIRAS Regional Director for Asia John Stasig Møerk said ports are needed in offshore wind projects to load and transport wind turbine components, such as tower sections, blades, and nacelles, that are transported to the offshore installation site via specialized vessels to ensure safe and efficient transportation.

He added offshore wind projects often utilize ports as the base of operations for installation and commissioning activities.

Offshore wind projects also need base ports for operations and maintenance, storage of decommissioned components, logistics, and supply chain management, Møerk said.