GE (NYSE: GE) has received commitments to supply wind turbines for wind farms to be developed in Brazil that will add more than 400 megawatts of power to the country’s clean energy capacity. These projects will mark the debut of GE’s wind turbine technology in Brazil.
In December of 2009, the Brazilian government held its first technology specific energy auction, focusing on wind power. In the past, the government has tendered 20-year power purchase agreements through energy auctions and until recently, these auctions allowed developers and utilities to use any power generation technology, including hydro, coal, natural gas, heavy fuel or renewables.
A total of just over 1.8 gigawatts of wind generation is planned for award to various developers and utilities. DESA—Dobreve Energia, S.A.—was successful in the auction with 144 megawatts to be built in the state of Rio Grande do Norte and Renova—Renova Energia, S.A. was successful with 270 megawatts to be built in the state of Bahia. Both DESA and Renova have selected GE’s 1.5megawatt class wind turbines for use at the projects. All of the projects are expected to be in commercial operation by July of 2012.
“This is Renova’s first move into the wind business and we were concerned about reliability and efficiency in our choice of technology,” said Mr. Vasco Barcellos, CEO of Renova Energia.”GE understood our needs and brought its technical teams to work close with us in the final steps of development of our projects. This, definitely, was key to place Renova in a singular competitive position in the auction.”
According to Lindolfo Zimmer, CEO of DESA, “Wind farms are relatively new to the Brazilian energy market. We built a partnership with GE focused on getting the best technology matched with our technical needs. This extensive effort, which took months of working together, built a winning strategy vital to our entry into the Brazilian wind energy market.”
“We are very excited with the opportunity to be part of this milestone program, which will play a major role in helping Brazil diversify its energy supply and will bring economic development to the northeastern section of the country,” said Rafael Santana, CEO of GE Energy Latin American. “These projects will allow us to introduce our technology in Brazil, which offers a strong future for the development of wind energy.”
Brazil has relied heavily on hydropower for its electricity supply. The recent wind auction reinforces Brazil’s commitment to make wind power a mainstream source of energy as it continues to expand its renewables portfolio. Globally wind power continues to grow rapidly. The Global Wind Energy Council has predicted that the world’s wind energy capacity will nearly triple in the next five years, following a decade of double digit growth.
Brazil has vast, untapped wind resources, thanks in large part to strong wind conditions along the country’s 4,600-mile coastline. The Brazilian Wind Energy Association has set a goal of achieving 10 gigawatts of wind energy capacity by 2020. The country currently has 605 megawatts of wind capacity, with another 450 megawatts under construction.
The GE 1.5/1.6-megawatt class wind turbines slated for use in the Brazilian projects are the most widely deployed wind turbines in the world, with more than 13,500 presently in operation. These machines are an excellent fit for the wind regime in the northeast of Brazil.