RENEWABLE ENERGY. The 83.3-MW Currimao-2 solar project is officially inaugurated on Thursday (March 30, 2023) in Barangay Paguludan-Salindeg, Currimao, Ilocos Norte. The area covers around 24 hectares of forestland. (Photo courtesy of Irene Ringor)

LAOAG CITY – The town of Currimao in Ilocos Norte beamed with pride on Thursday as it began hosting a multi-million solar energy plant now ready to begin commercial operations.

In a speech during the inauguration ceremony for the 83.3-megawatt solar power project in Barangay Paguludan-Salideg, Currimao Mayor Edward Quilala said they are delighted to be part of a massive and socially-relevant project to support the government’s goal of achieving a renewable energy share of 35 percent by 2030 and 50 percent by 2040 in the country’s power mix.

“On behalf of Currimao, I would like to thank the Nuevo Solar Energy Corp. (NSEC) for having the foresight to harness solar energy and invest their resources in our small town,” he said.

In 2022, MGen Renewable Energy Inc. (MGreen), the renewable energy unit of Meralco PowerGen Corp. (MGen), and leading renewable energy company in the Asia-Pacific region Vena Energy commenced construction of a bigger solar power project in Currimao town next to Vena existing 20-megawatt solar project.

In the same year, MGreen and Vena Energy entered into an agreement to form NSEC, which would undertake the development, construction, and operation of the solar project, covering about 24 hectares of forestland.

Though the various renewable energy projects in the province have no direct impact on reducing the electricity rates of households here, host communities acknowledged they continue to benefit from it through the company's corporate social responsibility projects.

Among these are job generation, reforestation, rural electrification, scholarship grants, and aid during natural disasters.

For his part, Governor Matthew Joseph Manotoc lauded the project proponents and investors as he assured the provincial government’s all-out support in pushing renewable energy projects such as this.

“We are very fortunate to have you here. Rest assured that we will make it easy for you as possible to do business in the province,” he said.

Vena Energy Philippines' head Samrinder Nehria also expressed hopes that through their partnership with MGreen, the project will play an important role in accelerating the energy transition in the Philippines.

Vena Energy is one of the largest independent power producers in the Asia-Pacific region, operating in Australia, Japan, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand. (PNA)