Brazil plans massive wind energy expansion

Brazil must expand energy production capacity by 50 percent in the next decade to keep pace with population growth and demand for electricity. To achieve this, government planners are investing in wind energy, The Washington Post reports.

Currently, the country relies largely on hydropower generated by massive dams. But wind has become an increasingly attractive option for Brazil due to falling costs and its ability to produce clean, renewable energy.

Now, Brazil is on target to generate 10 percent of its total power from wind turbines by 2021. “Wind is the perfect complement for the hydro base that we have in Brazil,” said Mathias Becker, president of Renova Energia, a Brazilian wind-energy company. “When it rains, we don’t have wind. When the wind blows, there is no rain.”

Brazil’s economy is growing fast, and it is expected to need an increase of 50% in power generation capacity over the next decade. Currently, the country gets quite a lot of its electricity from hydro, but because it is becoming more reluctant to build new dams on its numerous rivers, it is now turning to another plentiful source of energy: Wind power. The country doesn’t have much of it right now, but a big wind turbine boom seems to be starting.

Large parts of Brazil as so windy – both with high and consistent wind speeds – that this is a perfect fit. The very same wind turbines end up producing more kWhs of clean power than in other, less windy parts of the world. The current goal is to generate 10% of the country’s electricity from the wind by 2021, or enough to pretty much power Sao Paula, South-America’s largest city with 11 million people (almost 20 million in the metro area).