Brazil Windpower 2013 - liveblog day 1

The first day of Windpower Monthly's blog from the Brazil Windpower 2013 conference in Rio de Janeiro, covering events as they happen. If you are at the conference, visit Windpower Monthly at stand 197, 2nd floor.

Edison Lobão, Brazil minister of energy, reaffirms intention to install 2GW of wind per year to 2020
Edison Lobão, Brazil minister of energy, reaffirms intention to install 2GW of wind per year to 2020

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2000hrs Brasilia Standard Time

Are there more? A few hours after Spain's Acciona announced a new nacelle plant in Brazil's Bahia state, Jaques Wagner, Bahia state governor said during the conference opening remarks that more manufacturers would be coming to the state.

Was he referring to Acciona, I asked one of his aides?  "He meant several others," the aide replied and smiled, offering no more.

Bahia came late to wind power, but in this year's auction it consolidated its position as a leading state for wind power. "It's not our fault that God gave us good winds," Wagner remarked in the opening session.

As well as Acciona, Gamesa also assembles turbines in Bahia and Brazilian Tecsis makes blades, among others.

The end of a positive and upbeat opening day at Windpower 2013. It has been fairly quiet on the exhibition floor so far, but the conference hall has been busy. Looking forward to more activity tomorrow.

1930hrs Brasilia Standard Time

Aside the expected back-slapping of a sector that surged from almost zero four years ago to 2.8GW today, the Brazil Windpower conference welcomed but questioned the government's guarantees of tendering 2GW a year and planning for the transmission sector.

Energy Minister Edson Lobão reaffirmed plans to continue to install wind power capacity at a rate of 2GW a year through to 2020 in the country's energy network.

Soon afterwards Maurício Tolmasquim, president of the government's planning division (EPE), confirmed once more that it has concluded studies for expanding Brazil's 100,000km transmisson grid to wind prominent areas.

Welcoming the announcements, Otávio Silveira, chairman of the Brazilian Windpower Association (Abeeolica), said the industry needs to enter further discussions with the authorities about this. "It's essential for the development of the non-regulated market", he said.

On a more sober tone, Steve Sawyer of GWEC, urged delegates to think ahead and question what will be the real and sustainable size of Brazil's wind industry based on local production. "We still have the luxury [of time] to think about that", said Sawyer at the start of the event.

1830hrs Brasilia Standard Time

First notes from opening session: Steve Sawyer of Global Wind Energy Council urges the industry to consider the supply chain and the size of the market in Brazil. Bahia state governor Jacques Wagner is nominated as Brazil's Wind ambassador, and Brazil’s energy minister Edison Lobão reaffirms the government’s intention to install 2GW of wind power a year until 2020. 

1800hrs Brasilia Standard Time

 The Brazil Windpower 2013 conference and fair starts with most of the companies' stands undergoing last minute preparations and main executives not yet  arrived. But Acciona from Spain has already set itself one a step ahead after announcing earlier today its new production facility in Brazil for the AW3000. A company spokesman told me that the 3MW turbine, launched earlier this year, is expected to be adaptable, available with different size steel and concrete towers, and rotor blades up to 125metres long. The aim is to capture market opportunities in Brazil’s southern and north eastern region. He declined to say how much would be invested in the new plant.

1300hrs Brasilia Standard Time 

Four hours until Brazil's energy minister Edison Lobão officially opens Brazil WindPower 2013 conference, joined by Brazilian Windpower Association’s (Abeeolica) executive board, led by Elbia Melo and Otavio Silveira, and GWEC's Steve Sawyer here in Rio de Janeiro under a 30C winter sun.

In contrast to last year, the local industry is optimistic after selling 1.5GW in new projects, at higher local prices, at last month's reserve auction and because the government decided to allow wind developers to bid on the 12 December.

These latest developments will be discussed at a conference panel today.

This contrasts with Elbia Melo’s statement that, "2012 was a year to be forgotten" by the Brazilian wind sector. That year, falling wind energy prices, new electricity regulation and lack of demand resulted in a sale of only 282MW in wind power projects.

This year’s players are showing they still have an appetite to invest in Brazil despite complex and tough local content rules from the National Development Bank (BNDES), lagging transmission infrastructure and a sluggish economy.

With another two auctions still to happen in 2013 and a stock of at least 16GW in wind projects, the Brazil WindPower Conference 2013 will be good a place to look for indications whether new market opportunities (such as the non-regulated market and exports to South America) and financing alternatives can really come true.


1030hrs Brasilia Standard Time  

Only a few hours before the Brazil WindPower 2013 conference starts and Spain's Acciona Windpower has announced it is building a nacelle assembly plant in Brazil.

Acciona Windpower will build a nacelle assembly plant in Brazil complying with national content rules, the company said in a statement.

Acciona will produce the AW3000 turbine which has a 3MW capacity. The new plant will have capacity to produce 100 units a year.

The company did not say how much it will invest in the project but said operations should start by the end of 2014. The new plant will be in the northeastern state of Bahia.

In March, the company announced a hub plant in the same state.

Acciona has supply contracts with developers in Brazil for 210MW or 70 AW3000 turbines until the end of 2014.

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