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Brazil liberalisation sparks activity

In Brazil's recently liberalised electricity sector, regional utilities now have the task of supplying enough power to meet the country's demand. The government is clearly eager that at least some of this demand is met by wind power. Plans for two 30 MW wind farms for sites at Paracuru and Camocin in the province of Cear‡ in Brazil are well advanced.

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Plans for two 30 MW wind farms for sites at Paracuru and Camocin in the province of Cear‡ in Brazil are well advanced, according to Jorgdieter Anhalt of wind development company Braselco, or Brasil Energias Eolocas e Solar. Braselco is the local partner of a Danish consultant group which on April 15 won a contract from Cear‡ utility Coelce to develop the two wind farms.

The three member group -- consisting of engineering consultants Ramboll and Tripod and utility Elkraft -- is responsible for preparation of tender documents, the selection of a turnkey supplier and for a five year supervision period, says Anhalt.

The 60 MW has already won financial support from both German and Japanese aid programs. Germany has assisted Coelce with extensive wind measuring at three coastal sites, the results of which were so positive that California company SeaWest, together with Japanese wind turbine manufacturer Mitsubishi, became interested in Cear‡'s potential. Japan is now supplying a major part of the financing of the wind plants from its Overseas Economic Co-operation Fund (OECF).

In August last year, the OECF granted ¥6020 million for the "Cear‡ State Wind Power Plan Construction Project," part of a cumulative aid package to Brazil amounting to nearly ¥192 million for 12 assorted projects. The 25 year loan, with an interest rate of just 4%, is not tied to any specific technology or contractor. "This project is intended to serve as a model, demonstrating the advantages of wind power generation, thus promoting the use of wind power generation in other parts of Brazil," states OECF. The Brazil development is the first wind project to be supported by Japanese overseas aid.

Anhalt says the Paracuru wind farm is due to come on line in 2000 and Camocin in 2002. The remaining finance for the project will be provided by the province of Cear‡.

As well as the 60 MW development, three further projects are being built, all of which will sell power to Coelce, says Anhalt. German wind company Enercon is supplying Brazil-made versions of its 500 kW E40 turbine for two wind farms -- 10 MW and 5 MW -- at Prainha and Taiba. The developer is a company called Wobben Windpower. The owner of Enercon is named Aloys Wobben. Enercon's Brazil manufacturing facility is at Sorococaba. Wobben declines to comment on his activities in Brazil. A third wind plant of 8 MW is being developed by a company named Cinzel, together with Enerbras. Cinzel has contracted Braselco to build it. This plant is due on line in May of next year, says Anhalt.

Enron too

California company Enron Wind Power is also installing a 12 MW wind project in Brazil, according to Craig Christianson, project manager for the firm's Zond Z-750. He told last month's annual conference of the American Wind Energy Association that Enron would install and complete a 12 MW project in Brazil either this year or early in 1999. Enron apparently proposed a 100 MW wind plant for Parana, a state in the south of the country. The 12 MW is an initial phase, according to a source in Brazil.

Brazil's electricity sector was recently liberalised and regional utilities now have the task of supplying enough power to meet the country's demand. In the north east of Brazil, growth in demand for power is expected to escalate at a rate of 5.3% until 2000, when it will rise again.

The government is clearly eager that at least some of this demand is met by wind power. As well as introducing legislation for independent power production, it has removed a 17% import tax on all wind turbine components. Furthermore, a government backed Brazilian Wind Energy Centre has been established in Recife in the north east of the country, where much of the current activity is located, along with a "Permanent Forum of Renewable Energy" to promote the interests of the renewables business.

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