Projects approaching deadline for state subsidy reviewed case by case

After months of uncertainty in Brazil, wind projects approaching a deadline for state subsidy will be reviewed on a case by case basis for possible extension of government support. The country's national renewable energy program, Programa de Incentivo às Fontes Alternativas de Energia Elétrica (Proinfa), had originally set this month as its deadline for when projects must be online to receive government sponsored power purchase prices from state power company Eletrobrás. Just under 150 MW of wind plant is expected to slide in under the deadline (Windpower Monthly, October 2008), but many others are in various stages of construction due to delays caused by equipment or financing challenges. Jorge Lima, a renewable energy specialist at Eletrobrás, says 22 wind plants with a combined total of some 609 MW have already started construction. Many have licences and financing. Some of these projects have towers erected, while others just have the cranes ready for when the equipment arrives. Many proceeded with construction on the assumption they would be reviewed or that the Proinfa deadline would be extended. Lima says that a team of legal and technical specialists, mainly drawn from Eletrobrás, is already assessing individual projects' reasons for delay, ranging from unexpected licensing problems to delays in equipment deliveries and even fraud. "Extensions aren't guaranteed and decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis," says Lima.

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