Regulator approves nine more -- Another 729 MW in Brazil

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Even though there is not a single wind project under construction in Brazil, there is no shortage of new developments going through the regulatory stages. In late August, electricity regulatory authority Aneel gave the green light to a further nine projects that together represent a potential investment of over $500 million and 729 MW in installed wind capacity.

SIIF Energies do Brasil, indirectly linked to France's national nuclear utility EDF, is behind five of the projects, all in the northeast of the country. The projects are: Paracuru (23.4 MW, at Paracuru, Ceará state), Santa Izabel (198 MW, at Galinhos, Rio Grande do Norte), Jericoacoara (100.8 MW, Jijoca de Jericoacoara, Ceará), Água das Dunas (43.4 MW, Extremoz, Rio Grande do Norte) and Icaraizinho (54 MW, Amontoada, Ceará). All five are scheduled to start operations in 2005.

Investment earmarked

Also in the northeast, Eletrowind, part of Brazil's CS Participacoes group, is responsible for the 30.6 MW Fazenda Brígida development situated at Jandaíra in Bahia state. CS Participacoes has previously said it intends to invest up to $150 million in wind farms in Ceará.

Elebrás, a Brazilian company partnering with Germany's Innovent, will develop three projects, all in Rio Grande do Sul state. They are the 126 MW Santa Vitória do Palmar I project at Santa Vitória do Palmar, the 81 MW Mostardas I, between Mostardas and Palmares do Sul, and a 72 MW plant at Cidreira.

Elebrás and Innovent are planning to invest around $250 million in their three future projects, says Elebrás engineer Roberto Jardim. He adds that the 12 month construction period is scheduled to start December 2003. Once built, the partners plan to sell the projects to either generators or distributors. Meantime, they say they will seek financing from international banks and Brazil's development bank BNDES to cover construction costs.

Apart from the projects that Aneel approved, Enerbrasil also presented plans for a 200 MW project at Caetiti, in Bahia state, to the state infrastructure secretary Roberto Moussallem. The company already has Aneel approval for projects totalling over 2000 MW and has requested preliminary licensing for them from Bahia state environment institute, CRA. Construction is planned to start early 2004.

Down south

Meanwhile the government of Rio Grande do Sul (RS), Brazil's southernmost state, has published its Ventos do Sul program, with incentives for wind development including exemption from the ICMS sales tax on generation equipment and the sale of electric power. Wind power investors will also be able to build up and trade ICMS "credits" and access to the Fundopem business development program will be more flexible. Additional incentives are also being examined.

Rio Grande do Sul has already attracted substantial interest with three companies planning more than 11 projects with a combined capacity of 785.7 MW. Representing a combined investment of $700 million, these are a 15 MW plant at Cidreira by Brazilian turbine manufacturer Wobben Windpower, seven projects totalling 620.7 MW by Gamesa Energia Brasil for sites at Santana do Livramento, Piratini, Sao Francisco de Paula, Jaquarao, Cassino, Santa Vitoria do Palmar e Sao Jose do Norte, and three projects totalling 150 MW at Osorio, planned by Enerfin, a subsidiary of Spain's Elecnor. Wobben Windpower is owned by Alloys Wobben, also the sole owner of Germany's flagship wind turbine manufacturer, Enercon.

Wind atlas

A wind atlas of the state published recently reveals nearly 16,000 MW of onshore wind potential at wind speeds of 7 m/s and above, including as much as 560 MW in wind speeds of 8-9 m/s, which would give a capacity factor of 39% or more, according to the atlas. Offshore potential totals 18,520 MW at wind speeds of 7 m/s and above, including around 1260 MW in wind speeds of 8-9 m/s.

The state's hopes for future development, however, hinges on final decisions made by the federal government on its Alternative Power Source Incentive Program, Proinfa, under which Eletrobras and/or subsidiaries have pledged to buy 1100 MW of wind power over 15 years (Windpower Monthly, May 2002). With regulator Aneel having authorised far more than that to go ahead, companies are waiting to see which projects will be selected under the program.

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