Wind power reached the highest level with wind turbines since October last year and solar, the highest volume since the beginning of the historical series, which began in 2018. New records are expected to be reached by the end of the year.
With the start of the season of strong winds, Ceará registered, last Sunday (30), the highest level of wind generation this year, with 1,236.5 MWmed (average megawatts). This was the highest registered since October 8, 2019, when the generation was 1,326.5 MW, the highest registered by the National Electric System Operator (ONS) since January 2010, when the wind generation records began. .
On the other hand, the solar plants in Ceará connected to the National Interconnected System (SIN) generated, on August 24, 73.9 MW, the highest volume in the historical series, which began in November 2018. Despite the results still In August, the expectation is that these two sources reach new records by the end of the year, either due to the increase in the intensity of the winds or the higher solar incidence, especially in December.
“We are in the period that we call ‘harvest of the winds’, which lasts until more or less November. Until then, therefore, we can have new records in the Northeast, which concentrates a large part of the wind farms in Brazil, around 80% of them, ”says Elbia Gannoum, president of the Brazilian Wind Energy Association (Abeeólica).
“We have to consider the expected curve for the year, which is always higher generation at this time of year, with the first months of the year being lower,” says Gannoum. “The Northeast as a whole concentrates a large part of the Brazilian potential and Ceará is part of it with prominence, being today the third state in installed capacity”, he says.
Unlike other energy matrices, wind and solar do not depend on demand to produce, so even with the fall in energy consumption, due to the economic slowdown, these matrices will continue with maximum generation levels. Jurandir Picanço, energy consultant for the Federation of Industries of the State of Ceará (Fiec), says that wind and solar production contributes to preserving the level of hydroelectric dams and fuel for thermal power plants.
“Wind and solar production is carried out according to what is installed and the incidence of wind and sun. Regardless of the demand. That is why renewables help to preserve other sources ”, says Picanço. “In addition to being in the best windy season, we have a greater number of wind farms in operation, so we should have new records by the end of the year.”
According to Jonas Becker, coordinator of the Brazilian Association of Photovoltaic Solar Energy (Absolar) in Ceará, at the beginning of the year the expectation was that the solar generation segment would install 3 more gigawatts (GW) in the country. But, after the pandemic, the value has been adjusted to about 1 GW. “Even with this crisis, the solar energy market, unlike other sectors, grew this year. It was not the expectation we had, but in this context, it is a positive result ”, he says.
For the fourth quarter, Becker estimates that the outlook is “very good” for the sector due to the resumption of activities in the country and in the world, and should be maintained during the next year. “Although our product is imported, which has exchange rate weaknesses, we have a very good perspective regarding public policies and with more attractive financing. That is why we believe that the scenario foreseen for 2020 will pass in 2021 ”, he says. “We have done well in the search for sustainable economic development.”
According to data from the National Electric Energy Agency (Aneel), Ceará currently has 86 wind farms in operation, with an installed capacity of 2,187.9 MW. And for the next few years, it is expected to add an additional 176.4 MW for 7 projects under construction and 267.6 MW for 10 projects already contracted with construction not yet started.
Regarding the solar matrix, the State has eight projects in operation, with 218 MW, and in the coming years it will receive an injection of 2,036.5 MW, referring to 56 projects with construction not started. “With new auctions or new contracts, especially in the free market, which has grown a lot, these figures can grow”, says Elbia Gannoum.
The president of Abeeólica points out, however, that the fall in demand due to the pandemic tends to reduce the next auctions of the regulated market, since there will be energy surpluses. “The free market, however, has been growing a lot and, in the case of wind power, it already represents, since 2018, a volume of contracts higher than that of the regulated market,” he says.
Another factor that should boost the wind sector in the State is the viability of offshore wind farm projects (with wind turbines at sea). In January, a public consultation was opened for the granting of licenses for this type of projects, which allowed the evaluation of feasibility projects for parks in Caucaia and Camocim.
According to the Ceará Wind and Solar Potential Atlas, presented at the end of last year, the offshore generation potential in Ceará is 117 GW, with a capacity factor of 62%, and at shallow depth.
The survey revealed the possibility of wind generation in an area of 10,000 square kilometers, where the depth is up to 20 meters. If regions with up to 50 meters are considered, the area changes to 19 thousand square kilometers. One of the aspects raised by the atlas, which places Ceará in an advantageous position in relation to other states, is the peak hours in wind farm generation.