Brazil regulator does it again -- Another 2000 MW

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A further batch of wind power projects totalling almost 2000 MW has been authorised by Brazil's electricity regulator, Aneel -- doubling the amount approved in December. Permits for 23 projects totalling 1907 MW were announced last year, barely a week after the first series of 20 projects for 1773 MW was made public (Windpower Monthly, January 2002).

Eight of the latest batch will be installed in Ceará, eight in Rio Grande do Norte, five in Pernambuco and two in Bahia. Projects will be competed between July 2002 and December 2005. The developers are named as Brazilian companies CPL Participações, Enerbrasil Energias Renovaveis do Brasil, New Energy Options -- the energy and communications co-operative serving Vale do Sirigi (Cersil) -- and Fuhrländer, a German wind turbine maker.

Runners and riders

Enerbrasil, which is controlled on a 50:50 basis by Spain's Iberdrola and Empresa Hidroeléctrica de Navarra (EHN), will develop 16 of the projects (one of which is in two phases and for Aneel counts as two projects) with a combined capacity of 1552.95 MW.

CPL will develop three projects of 146.4 MW, New Energy Options two projects of 151.8 MW, while Fuhrländer and Cersil will develop one project each, of 46 MW and 9.9 MW, respectively. Unconfirmed reports say that Spain's Gamesa will partner Cersil in its project. The main absentee is France's SIIF, which, in the first batch of projects was given permission to develop 1080 MW over seven projects and expected to receive a similar amount in the second.

New Energy Options is a newcomer to Brazil's wind scene, although company head Ailton Lobo was responsible for bringing the country's first ever wind project on-line while he was with utility Cemig. A privately owned company, New Energy is negotiating with two potential foreign partners who will take at least 75% of the company's two projects, Lobo says. One partner will be an equipment provider and the other will provide investment and development expertise. Names were set to be announced at the end of January, when New Energy hopes to have the power purchase agreement (PPA) finalised. "Our plan is to have 20 MW operating within six months and the rest within a year and a half," he says.

As with the previously authorised projects, Aneel authorisation is a hurdle developers have to clear before negotiating PPAs. It is not a guarantee that the projects will be built.

Given the scale of interest in the Brazilian market, there are yet more projects in the pipeline, according to Aneel's Rosângela Lago, with four more projects on the table adding up to 34 MW. Aneel is keen to permit as many as possible and the only reason the remaining four are on hold is that the developers still have paperwork to do. Furthermore, SIIF has its "missing" 1000 MW on paper -- and New Energy Options has two other projects that still do not have enough wind speed data to be submitted to Aneel.

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