Brazil?s wind power sector jumped 63% in 2011

With a 63% increase in installed wind farm capacity last year, Brazil continues turning to the emissions-free generating technology to help the nation diversify its power mix and satisfy a growing electricity demand.

Recent evidence of this rapid expansion occurred just last week when Alstom was awarded a contract worth an estimated €130 million to supply and install wind turbines at four wind farms in the southern part of the nation.

Due for completion in the state of Rio Grande do Sul next year, Odebrecht Energia’s new wind farms — Corredor do Senandes II, III and IV, and Vento Aragano I — are expected to have a total capacity of 108 MW.

Two weeks earlier, EDP Renováveis Brasil announced that the new Tramandaí wind farm, also in Rio Grande do Sul, has an installed capacity of 70 MW, enough energy to supply a city of more than 200,000 people.

Although agriculture, manufacturing and mining have traditionally been key drivers of Brazil’s economy, the two announcements are symbolic of the country’s determined effort to develop wind power for its estimated 204 million residents.

Recognising that fact, the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), in its “Annual Market Update,” released last week at the EWEA 2012 Annual Event in Copenhagen, said Brazil had a total installed wind capacity of 1,509 MW by the end of last year and a 56% increase in terms of annual market growth.

GWEC’s report also noted that Brazil, the biggest nation and economy in South America, has more than 7,000 MW of wind energy in the pipeline to be completed by the end 2016.

According to GWEC’s statistics, Brazil is far and away the leader in installed wind capacity in both Latin America and the Caribbean, accounting for far more than half of the wind energy installed in the two regions.

GWEC added Brazil’s dynamic wind power sector has “attracted many manufacturers and component suppliers to establish factories” to supply both the nation and neighbouring regional markets.

“Brazil is one of the most promising onshore markets for wind energy, for at least the next five years,” the GWEC report said. “The country’s support framework and the sector’s experience have been adapted to meet local conditions. This put Brazil in an excellent position to be the regional leader in wind energy generation and development.”

GWEC warned, however, that a new regulatory framework that would provide certainty, legal security in the processing of projects, and a support system to further enhance competitiveness are needed if Brazil is to achieve long-term sustained wind power growth.

Wind energy in Brazil

1997: 3 MW
1998: 17 MW (+466.7 %)
1999: 19 MW (+11.8 %)
2000: 22 MW (+15.8 %)
2001: 24 MW (+9.1 %)
2002: 22 MW (-8.3 %)
2003: 24 MW (+9.1 %)
2004: 24 MW (- %)
2005: 29 MW (+20.9 %)
2006: 237 MW (+717.3 %)
2007: 247 MW (+4.3 %)
2008: 339 MW (+37.3 %)
2009: 606 MW (+78.8 %)
2010: 931 MW (+53.7 %)
2011: 1,509 MW (+62.1 %)

Chris Rose,