Brazil auction applications top 16GW

BRAZIL: A total of 665 wind projects with a combined target capacity of more than 16GW have registered to participate in Brazil's 23 August wind power auction, according to national power sector watch dog Empresa de Pesquisa Energ├ętica (EPE).

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The capacity is the highest registered for bidding in a Brazilian power auction, or in any wind-specific auction anywhere in the world, according to EPE president Mauricio Tolmasquim.

He hailed the registration process "a success". The previous auction, in December 2012, sealed sales from just 283MW of wind capacity, compared to 1.9GW in August 2011.

EPE expects stricter auction rules to provide safeguards for buyers and sellers. For a start, projects must already hold a grid connection agreement.

Additionally, the new system sets a maximum generation shortfall of just 10% from the amount agreed to be sold over the 20 years, against up to 50% flexibility in previous auctions.

Safeguards are expected to push the average price up from the BRL 87.94/MWh ($42.16/MWh) achieved in December 2012 (12% below August 2011).

Generation guarantees are also expected to mitigate the use of cheaper turbine technology imports, especially from China, in favour of more efficient machines.

In May three turbine manufacturers were approved by Brazil's national development bank (BNDES) to be used as suppliers for projects seeking to secure financing under the bank’s Finame scheme.

BNDES said Alstom, Impsa and Gamesa had all met Finame’s local content requirements, which require three major components — out of blades, towers, hubs and nacelles — to be made in Brazil.
The access to Finame financing is considered essential for turbine manufacturers to offer equipment at competitive prices for wind developers in Brazil, which has one of the world's lowest wind power prices at around $60/MWh.

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