More Brazil manufacturing

Brazilian Wobben Windpower is stepping up production of blades and wind turbines with the opening of a new factory at Pecem in the north east of Brazil. The company already has a factory at Sorocaba in southeast Brazil. Combined output from the two plants will be 1500 blades and 50 Enercon E-40 600 kW turbines in 2001, says Wobben's Fernando Petrucci. Wobben Windpower is owned by Alloys Wobben, the founder of Germany's largest wind turbine manufacturer, Enercon.

As well as making 1200 blades for the E-40, Wobben expects to manufacture about 250 blades for Enercon's 1.8 MW E-66 turbine. The large majority of the Brazilian manufactured equipment is exported. The company uses the financing offered by state development bank BNDES' Proex program, that offers the buyer up to 85% financing in periods that typically range between four and eight years.

The Sorocaba production plant has been in operation since 1997 and to date has produced 1800 blades. The Pecem plant will produce 80 E-40 turbines and 240 blades a year, according to Wobben export manager Telmo Cardoso.

Production perspectives in Brazil are favoured not only by the Proex financing, Petrucci explains, but also the government's Proeolica wind power program and the devaluation of the Brazilian Real.