Brazil's electric power regulator Aneel has given the go ahead for Spanish-backed wind generator Energias Renováveis do Brasil (Enerbrasil) to build a 180 MW project at Salinas in Rio Grande do Norte state. The project is scheduled to start operations in 2005, and according to Aneel will cost BRL 450 million ($149.5 million). For investment at Salinas and indeed any other wind project to be realised, however, depends on federal energy holding Eletrobras deciding the price it will pay for wind power under the government's Proinfa renewables market incentive program -- and a selection process being held for which of the scores of projects authorised by Aneel will be included in Proinfa. Rio Grande do Norte state alone now has wind permits for 4552 MW, while the nationwide wind power limit under Proinfa is only 1100 MW. A company based in Recife, New Energy Options (NEO), which holds two Aneel permits for projects in Rio Grande do Norte, met with state governor Wilma da Faria at the end of February to call for a more proactive stance for the state to secure part of the expected boom in the country's wind power market. "Rio Grande do Norte will be the big beneficiary [of the wind market], and it needs political action to this end," says NEO's José Ciro Mota. NEO plans a $50 million, 50 MW first phase project at Guamaré, with a $100 million, 100 MW second phase. Enerbrasil already has permits for 1155 MW in 14 projects throughout Rio Grande do Norte.
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