After counting for generation on hydroelectricity for about 80% of it energy need Brazil is considering now a record investment of 4.1 billion Real (2.5 billion USD) for wind farms this year to diversify its power supply.
Brazil currently has 1 Gigawatts of wind capacity in operation.
That would be more than the total 3.3 billion reais Brazil’s development bank Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social has approved for wind since financing its first project in 2005, Antonio Tovar, head of the bank’s renewable energy desk.
Brazil has organized three auctions in the last two years for developers of renewable energy projects to sign power- purchase agreements.
“The big benefit with wind is that you’re producing most energy during the dry season between May and November,” when hydro reserves may run low, Jorge Trinkenreich, director of the Rio de Janeiro-based consulting company PSR Consultoria.
Developers of wind energy projects received 69% of the contracts that were offered in two auctions last year, according to the national energy research agency Empresa de Pesquisa Energética, known as EPE.
The high rate led Rio de Janeiro-based BNDES to approve 1.2 billion Real for wind projects in 2010, more than any other energy source excluding large hydro power.
Wind power may not receive as large a share of the contracts that will be available in two power auctions scheduled for July following Brazil’s decision to include natural gas-fired thermoelectric plants, Trinkenreich said. Those plants have advantages over wind, he said, notably that they “can be turned on and off when you want.”
Natural gas comprised 39% of the projects registered to participate in July’s auctions, in terms of generation capacity, and wind accounted for 40%, according to EPE.
Developers signed contracts to sell 3.9 Gigawatts of wind power, or 3% of the country’s total grid capacity, in Brazil’s three last renewable energy auctions, according to electricity regulator Agência Nacional de Energia Elétrica, Aneel.
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