Brazil advances wind power development

Dec. 4, 2012 at 4:08 PM
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RIO DE JANEIRO, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Brazil is redoubling efforts to boost its electricity generation capacity and wind power is high on both public and corporate sector agenda.

The government of President Dilma Rousseff is investing tens of billions of dollars into infrastructural development amid nationwide preparations for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.

Brazil's Renova Energia and GE this week announced a new $394 million agreement that will establish 230 wind turbines with an installed capacity of 386 megawatts of energy.

The purchase is part of Renova's expansion plans launched in November 2011 and begun with the construction of the Alto Sertao II Wind Farm, which has 15 parks with an installed capacity of 386 megawatts.

The project is expected to generate enough electricity to supply power for a city of 1 million people.

The Alto Sertao II Wind Farm covers the cities of Caetite, Guanambim and Igapora in southeastern Bahia state.

Company officials said the contract is to supply energy sold by Renova in the reserve energy auctions in 2010 and 2011.

Renova Energia officials indicated efficient wind energy operations were increasingly important as new technologies enter the sector.

"Scale and efficiency are increasingly important factors in the wind power segment and they have created a new scenario, which is more complex and which requires internationally recognized partners such as GE," Renova Energia Legal and Purchasing Director Luiz Freitas said.

He said the contract had resulted from "the value generated by a joint Renova and GE team in the pursuit of the state of the art in wind power technology in Bahia."

Wind power development has been controversial in parts of Brazil, as elsewhere in the world, as critics have cited effects of wind warms on natural landscapes. In some cases, noise pollution from wind warms has also drawn ire from resident groups and environmental advocacy organizations.

Renova Energia and GE began their partnership in 2009 during Brazil's first exclusively wind energy auction in December that year.

That partnership has worked well so far. "Renova built the largest wind farm in Brazil, and we are proud to take part in this project and to help boost wind power generation in Bahia," said Jean-Claude Robert, leader of GE's Renewable Energy business in Latin America.

The farm opened in July 2012 and operates 184 GE wind turbines producing a total of 294 megawatts.

GE has been active in the global wind energy market for a decade and has 20,000 wind turbines installed around the world, 300 of them in Brazil.

More than 600 additional units will be installed in Brazil over the next two years.

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