The component supply chain is in need of further investment if Brazil is to continue its ambitious growth plan. Flanges, companies with forging facilities, rollers and bearings are particularly needed, said Elbia Melo, executive president of the Brazilian wind industry association Abeeolica, on the eve of the fifth wind industry conference.
Electricity growth demand in the country is 5GW per year. Large hydro plants, the only energy generation source that is cheaper than wind, can do little, she said, so wind has the greatest potential.
Melo confirmed growth projections for wind power: to have double installation by the end of this year, from 3.5GW at the end of 2013 to 7.2GW; and to have reached 20GW by 2020.
With nine original equipment manufacturers investing in the country, that is sufficient, she said, as are the number of project developers. There is, however, a clear need in the supply chain, where the OEMs are searching for partnerships, she said. And with local sourcing requirements high, these companies will need to be based in Brazil. From 2015, the local sourcing requirement will be 100%. Currently, the local sourcing requirement is about quality not quantity, but if you have to put a figure to this, it is near 80%, Melo estimated.
This need is mirrored in the joint venture announced last week between French manufacturer Alstom and infrastruture group Andrade Gutierrez to build a steel tower factory in Bahia.
The pace of construction is fast, with many projects committed to complete by 2015. More local skills are still required to meet these construction demand. "When it started about four years ago, there were many people bringing skills from abroad. Now the market is more mature, and there have been training courses run over that period. Abeeolica is working with the government to set up more courses," she said.
The 2014 event opens on Tuesday afternoon, with keynote speeches from energy minister Edison Lobão, Miguel Nery from government industrial development ABDI, and the governor of wind-power heavy Bahia State, Jacques Wagner.