Brazil, benefited from huge fossil and hydroelectric resources, goes now through a wind energy boom, thanks to its lower production costs, coupled with government incentives, which attract an increasing number of foreign companies.
The wind energy sector of the country has a current capacity of 1,400 MW and is projected that this figure will be multiplied by eight by 2014, according to the Brazilian Wind Energy Association (ABEEólica).
A study by the Institute for Research on Emerging Energy points out that Brazil, the leading wind energy market in Latin America will have 31.6 gigawatts (a gigawatt equals 1,000 MW) of installed capacity in 2025.
Energy auction held last August by the government, which owns 44 wind farms in Brazil, offered 39% of total capacity, selling for the first time an average price of 99.58 reais ($ 62.91) per megawatt-hour, below the average price of gas projects (103.26 dollars) and a hydroelectric project (102 reais).
Lower production costs, government incentives and growing energy demand of Brazil have attracted a significant number of foreign companies.
The Wobben Windpower, a subsidiary of German group Enercon, installed the first wind turbine factory in the 90s and expects to complete 22 wind farms installed, accounting for a total of 554 MW by the end of 2012.
The German was followed by Spain’s Gamesa, Impsa Argentina, also a German company Siemens, the Danish company Vestas – the largest wind turbine manufacturer in the world – GE Wind (arm GE Energy, a subsidiary of American General Electric) and Suzlon of India.
The last to join in the group of investors was the French engineering giant, Alstom, which passed on Wednesday inaugurated a plant to build wind turbines in Bahia (northeast), its first in Latin America.
The plant, located in the industrial complex of Camaçari, near Salvador, capital of Bahia, has a production capacity of 300 MW to meet domestic and export markets.
Alstom says that his ambition is to reach its current in the wind sector share of 40% in the hydroelectric sector in Brazil.
“We can not do it tomorrow, but between 10 and 15 years can get. We are very ambitious in this sector (wind), not only in Brazil but in the rest of Latin America,” he told AFP, Philippe Delleur, president of the Brazilian unit of Alstom , at the opening ceremony.
“We expect prices to stabilize around figures that match the profitability of our investments,” he said.
National companies like Desenvix, Dobrev, and CPFL Renova are also active and, according to industry sources, MPX, the division of the energy companies of billionaire Eike Batista, will also invest large sums in the wind energy sector.
The greatest potential is in the northeast, especially in the states of Bahia, Rio Grande do Norte and Ceará, due to high wind speeds and low incidence of disturbances such as tornadoes or hurricanes.