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abr 03, 2018

Good winds fueling Brazil’s renewable energy market

Brazil’s geographical localization puts the country in a privileged position to lead the world’s transition to a clean energy matrix. With excellent levels of solar irradiance, combined with constant and unidirectional winds, Brazil has expanded its clean energy matrix over the past few years. In August 2017, wind power alone represented just over 10 percent of all the electricity produced in Brazil, according to the Chamber of Electrical Energy Trade (CCEE) and the Brazilian Association for Wind Power (ABEEólica). In the Northeastern region, that rate reached 64 percent.

And there’s still a lot of room for growth.

According to data from producers, wind power plants in Brazil have a “capacity factor” of 50%, compared to 30% in European plants. The capacity factor tells you how much of the time plants are actually producing energy. Northeastern states, such as Rio Grande do Norte, Ceará, and Bahia, lead the way.

“Brazil’s future is in renewable energy sources, that’s our strength”, said Paulo Pedrosa, Executive Secretary of the Ministry of Mines and Energy, during the National Conference for Energy Production and Distribution. The Brazilian government is not alone in that diagnosis. International firms have flocked to Brazil looking to invest.

French company EDF, for example, plans to inject over 6 billion Brazilian Reals over the next few years in plants located in Minas Gerais and Bahia. The EN Group, EDF’s parent company, has declared Brazil as one of its eight priority markets in the company’s global expansion strategy.

The French, however, are not the only ones who will invest big bucks in Brazil. Back in October, Banco do Nordeste announced plans to fund renewable energy endeavors in Bahia, Ceará, and Piauí – in projects worth up to 1.3 billion Brazilian Reals.

Meanwhile, the state of Maranhão has already begun the construction of a wind power complex of its own. Sponsored by Ômega Energia, which invested 1.5 billion Brazilian Reals, the complex is located between the municipalities of Barreirinhas and Paulino Neves. It is supposed to be the first of a series of such plants in the state.

If wind power has been the go-to source for producers, solar power is set to make a splash in the coming years. Data from the Brazilian Electricity Regulatory Agency (Aneel) shows that households and companies are investing in producing their own solar-based electricity, thanks to changes in the legislation to deregulate small-scale production. By 2024, according to Aneel, Brazil will have over 1.2 million small-scale producers of solar power. In 2030, this source should represent 10 percent of the Brazilian energy matrix.

It is by no means an overstatement to say that Brazil is on track to become a world leader in renewable energy production.