The Bangui Wind Farm and What You Probably Didn’t Notice

..or maybe you did. Anyway, let’s get to that later on. We are still on my North Luzon Loop Series I did back in April for my birthday. I started back in Laguna and made my way north on my motorcycle with the idea to visit (and re-visit) the tourist destinations of Northern Luzon particularly the Ilocos Region.

bangui_cover

After two days on the road, I have reached Pagudpud. I didn’t think I’d make it here until Day 3 but thanks to a late afternoon dash I did after Laoag City, I am actually ahead of schedule. How did that night end?

It was already completely dark when I reached Saud Beach. This time though, I was not worried at all. Hundreds of houses there accepts transients and that is not counting the hotels and beach resorts. Most of the homestays I checked out offers only a separate room and you would share the rest of the house with them or other guests. There was one though that offers the whole house! It came cheap too. Only Php 250 per head for a minimum of 2 pax so I paid Php 500.

It has one bed in the living room; two bedrooms with a single bed and an electric fan in each.

It has one bed in the living room; two bedrooms with a single bed and an electric fan in each.

a kitchen with a refrigerator and enough kitchenware you can do your own cooking show and of course, a bathroom..

a kitchen with a refrigerator and enough kitchenware you can do your own cooking show and of course, a bathroom..

After a refreshing bath, I set out to look for food… real food! I’ve been only eating chocolate bars for 2 days! I found a food cart who’s almost packing up. After they graciously accepted my order of at least a dozen sticks of this and that, I found out that they are out of rice. So I did what most of you would’ve done too. I robbed them of the remaining rice they have set aside for themselves – all three servings of it! Hahahaha!!

It was a good night!

It was a good night!

The following morning I woke up very early and headed back to Bangui. It was very dark and there were barely any streetlight turned on. I made my way through Pagudpud proper and into Bangui.

Pagudpud town proper at 5AM

Pagudpud town proper at 5AM

most travelers to the North never miss a photo-op here.

most travelers to the North never miss a photo-op here.

The turbines are visible from the National Highway from KM 540 to KM 550. I stopped at the Bangui Wind Farm view deck again hoping for a better shot of the turbines. My afternoon shots were bad because of the smoke from the residents burning dried leaves. Well, early morning wasn’t very good either because of the fog. Excuses!! :p

The Bangui Wind Farm view deck is probably somewhere in KM 543

The Bangui Wind Farm view deck is probably somewhere near KM 543

Bangui was derived from "bangi" - a kind of seaweed.

Bangui was derived from “bangi” – a kind of seaweed.

There are multiple access roads leading to the windmills. I started on the westernmost end of the 9-kilometer shoreline of Bangui Bay.

The location-slash-tourism map of Bangui

The location-slash-tourism map of Bangui and nearby towns

The rocky cliffs known as Palpalokada or Marugnay Rock Formations. Kapurpurawan White Rock is on the other side.

The rocky cliffs known as Palpalokada or Marugnay Rock Formations. Kapurpurawan White Rock is on the other side.

The wind turbines lining up on the Bangui shoreline.

The wind turbines arched along the Bangui shoreline.

The sun's early morning rays barely penetrating the foggy shore.

The sun’s early morning rays barely penetrating through the foggy shore.

The Northwind Bangui Bay Project was conceptualized because of the poor electricity supply to the region. It was June 2008 when the first 15 turbines were completed and 5 more units were added on August 2008.

The basic components of a horizontal axis wind turbine.

The basic components of a horizontal axis wind turbine.

Each turbine is 70 meters high with 41 meter long blades and capable of producing up to a maximum capacity of 1.65MW, for a total of 33MW.

Once more, Dhone and I found ourselves struggling on the sand. Beach sand here was more loose than the one in La Paz but I'm glad I didn't go down.

Once more, Dhona and I found ourselves struggling on the sand. Beach sand here was more loose than the one in La Paz but I’m glad I didn’t go down.

The turbines has a base diameter of 6 meters. Only authorized personnel are allowed inside.

The turbines has a base diameter of 6 meters. Only authorized personnel are allowed inside.

So these turbines are really huge! The first time you see it, you might get overwhelmed that you might not pay attention to some details. The first time I was here on October 2010, I was so thrilled about these huge blades whizzing above me (noisy video here) that I thought they’re always like that.

Notice the blades facings TOWARDS the sea. This was on October 2010

Notice the rotors facing TOWARDS the sea. This was on October 2010

Now look how the blades are facing AWAY from the sea. This was on April 2013

Now look how the rotors are facing AWAY from the sea. This was on April 2013

Here's a photo taken on the same spot.

Here’s a photo taken on the same spot.

The whole upper assembly moves! What a surprise!! Some of you might already know that but I’m sure quite a lot doesn’t. Even Wikipedia, says it faces towards the South China Sea (someone needs to correct that). Really, it shouldn’t be surprising since the wind pattern changes after all. Not only does it change direction because of Amihan or Habagat, but it automatically detects the wind direction and makes the adjustment. Sometimes, you will see a turbine or two facing a different direction compared to the rest like this one.

It's not spinning too.

It’s not spinning too.

It’s probably under maintenance. The turbines only need about 3.5 m/s wind speed to operate and a maximum of 20 m/s to automatically shut it off. Anything stronger than that can damage the turbine if the rotors are kept spinning so don’t be disappointed if you happen to visit the wind farm with stationary windmills.

Regardless, which way the rotors are facing or if it is spinning or not, they are a sight to behold.

Regardless, which way the rotors are facing or if it is spinning or not, they are a sight to behold.

I’ve also heard of another wind farm under construction in Burgos. I hope the project is realized soon including those planned in other regions like Batanes and Mindoro.

Another stop at the Pagudpud Shell.

Another stop at the Pagudpud Shell

Back to Saud Beach

Back to Saud Beach

As tempting as it may be, I don’t really have enough time to relax in the beach. I loaded my packed luggage to the motorcycle and took off for the rest of Pagudpud.

Thanks to Dino Tiatco, Plant Manager of Northwind Power Development Corporation for answering all my questions about the wind farm. To those interested, I stayed at Cathy’s Homestay in Saud Beach, contact her at (0908) 314-6282.

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About Dom de la Torre

The rider is a 20-something Filipino that rides a Honda Wave 125cc underbone. He knows little about motorcycles yet loves the experience going places on two wheels. Rider Ako is a motorcycle-slash-travel blog. The rider not only shares to you travel destinations and what to see there but also the experience of getting there. You will read about the thrills and adventure when he rides solo, the romance of riding in tandem, the camaraderie riding with a group, the excitement participating in events, and anything that he thinks you might find interesting.When he's broke and the fuel's empty, he will share stories about motorcycling how he sees it through his helmet visor.
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4 Responses to The Bangui Wind Farm and What You Probably Didn’t Notice

  1. Great post! Hope the vendors had something else to eat! Haha. Must have been a great adventure!

  2. These are a high price to pay in terms of visual blight for a relative pittance of unreliable electricity. Multiply this scene the world over and the future looks more depressing than “green.” There are already more than 250,000 wind turbines, globally. It’s a highly invasive technology but neo-environmentalists chasing subsidies have conned a lot of people. If it were anything but wind turbines people would call them ugly without hesitation. The political-correctness surrounding these giant machines is strange. I never realized how many people didn’t really care about native scenery, or are just going along with the herd.

    I also wonder if putting wind turbines right on a beach is intelligent, aesthetic concerns aside. Beaches are generally not stable environments! Are their foundations anchored to bedrock somehow? Nature might get annoyed with the blight and knock them down with a tsunami someday.

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