Iberdrola to invest $833.1m in Brazilian wind energy

Spain’s Iberdrola is planning to invest US$833.1 million in new electricity distribution and wind projects in the northern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Norte over the next five years.

Rio Grande do Norte Governor Robinson Faria said that one of the major reasons the state attracted renewable energy companies was its strong support given to investors during the environmental licensing process.

The new investment stands to double Iberdrola’s current operating capacity in the state, said its CEO Ignacio Galan.

The Bilbao-headquartered firm already has a total of 11 wind farms in the state, which is located in the far northeastern tip of Brazil bordering the Atlantic Ocean.

Rio Grande do Norte is currently the largest producer of wind energy in Brazil.

South America’s largest country has pledged to generate 20% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030 in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

To achieve this, Brazil will have to double its non-hydro renewable capacity, including wind and solar.

Currently, around 67% of Brazil’s total installed capacity comes from hydro, 9% from biomass, 8% from wind and the remainder from fossil fuels and nuclear power. Most of the hydro is from large HPPs, which do not count as renewable projects.

Overall, the country is also aiming to source 45% of its total energy mix from renewables by 2030, according to its climate plan, known as the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution.

Last month, the government awarded just over 1,024 MW of new renewable energy contracts in the country’s latest A-4 clean power auction.

In total, 39 projects were contracted, of which four were for wind farms and the majority of the rest were for solar.

Wind power contracts were negotiated at 67.60 reais (US$18.43) per MWh, representing a discount of 73.49% on the initial price.

The auction registered the lowest prices ever negotiated in the Latin American nation for both wind and solar power plants, according to the operator Electric Energy Trading Chamber.

Another renewables auction, to be known as A-6, will be held sometime between May and August of this year, the government said recently.