Uncertainty over supplier choice threatens 70 MW Tramandai project

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If financing talks with Brazilian development bank BNDES go well, construction may start early next year on a 70 MW wind project at Tramandaí on the coast of Rio Grande do Sul being jointly developed by local firm Elebrás Projetos Ltda and German technology firm Innovent. Financing is being sought for 80% of the cost of the project, says Innovent's Paulo Yazbek. A turbine supplier has yet to be selected -- and this is where the uncertainty arises. The project has a 20 year power purchase agreement with Eletrobrás, the Brazilian state utility, at prices fixed under the national Proinfa program of renewables support. But under Proinfa, turbines must consist of 60% local content. Without confirmation from the Brazilian government that Proinfa is a long term program and will move into a second phase, turbine manufacturers are reluctant to set up production facilities in Brazil. Only German company Enercon has done so. "The time schedule will very probably have to be postponed, as the wind turbines will not be available for delivery in time," says Yazbek. The project was selected for inclusion under Proinfa in 2002 when it was still known as the Cidreira Windfarm, before its change of location to neighbouring Tramandaí.

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