Siemens Gamesa has started to install a new generation of more powerful wind turbines for onshore wind power in Brazil, in an important step to increase its competitiveness in a key market for the manufacturer and position itself for the development of the offshore wind market.
Brazil will be the first country in the world to operate Siemens Gamesa wind turbines with 6.2 megawatts (MW) of nominal power and a 170-meter rotor – the largest available in the world – in onshore wind generation.
The first wind turbines, produced in Bahia, are being installed at AES Brasil’s Tucano (BA) wind farm.
Siemens Gamesa, which until a few years ago manufactured 3.5 MW wind turbines, has seen interest in the market for the new model and has already signed supply contracts with Essentia, owned by Pátria, and Engie Brasil, Felipe Ferrés told Reuters, managing Director. of Siemens Gamesa in Brazil. “It is becoming a key machine for the whole world… The first orders came either to Brazil or to the Nordic countries. Today we already have a series of contracts in addition to these two regions, in southern Europe, and some negotiations in Africa,” said Ferrés.
According to the executive, the model has attracted the attention of large investors in wind energy -since it optimizes the parks by making them more powerful with fewer machines- and, in the future, it could be applied even in “small” offshore projects. “We have a big advantage in that regard, having already gone to such a big machine for land, but thinking that it is also applicable for sea.”
He points out, however, that marine parks are often much larger than land-based ones, so the volume of orders would have to grow on a proportional scale to allow for local production.
“Today, the new (offshore) contracts in Europe, in the US, are 14 MW machines. For you to manufacture this in Brazil, we are talking about blocks of 3 to 4 GW in one fell swoop. It is installed on land in a year, a single project is needed to make local manufacturing viable.” Ferrés said that he still has no doubts that the offshore wind market will develop in Brazil, but he understands that the speed of this process is directly related to the development of green hydrogen production.
Siemens Gamesa has its wind turbine factory in Camaçari (BA) “full” until “the end of 2023, 2024” and does not see great challenges in meeting customer demand in the coming years, the manufacturer’s general director has pointed out. “What I do today is one shift, I could potentially work three shifts. In other words, tripling my capacity without increasing the physical space, only with adjustments, training.” According to him, despite the demand for new orders, Siemens Gamesa and other manufacturers have suffered from the breakdown of production chains around the world, due to the pressures associated with the Covid-19 pandemic and the increase in costs with raw materials.
In the case of Brazil, the main impact has been on costs, he said, since the Brazilian wind industry is not very dependent on imports. He believes that prices of raw materials such as steel are not likely to cool down anytime soon, as the war in Ukraine and its aftermath are likely to continue to put pressure on commodities for some time.