A recent auction held by the Brazilian National Electric Energy Agency (ANEEL), resulted in 42 new electricity generation projects with a total installed capacity of 1,211.5 megawatts (MW), to meet the projected demand of distribution companies in 2016. Of this total, 39 projects were wind farms, totaling 976.5 MW, or 81 percent of the total power traded in the auction.
The average price per MWh was R$102.18 (approx. US$ 55 per MWh), which included an average discount of 8.77 percent. According to Brazil’s Energy Research Company (EPE), the auction fully met the demand of energy distribution companies.
New wind energy plants will be installed in different regions of the country: in the northeast (Bahia, Ceará, Maranhão and Rio Grande do Norte), in the heartland (Goiás), in the south (Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina) and southeast (São Paulo). The total projected investment is R$4.3 billion (approx. US$2.3 billion).
Apart from wind, the San Roque hydroelectric power plant (135 MW) was allocated to the state of Santa Catarina at the price per MWh of R$91.20 (approx. US$49.1 per MWh), which was a 25.85 percent discount to the original price, with expected investments of R$652 million (approx. US$351.1 million).
According to EPE, Brazil’s wind energy potential is estimated to be 143,000 MW, with the ability to reach 300,000 MW with the use of modern generators. Between 2009 and 2010, the country’s wind power generation increased by 50.5 percent; and currently accounts for 0.4 percent of the total electricity produced in Brazil.
Renewable energy accounts for 87.1 of Brazil’s electricity matrix, mainly from hydropower. But there’s pressure in the country for government to bring online wind and solar projects as the hydropower industry eyes the Amazon region for future projects, such as the controversial Belo Monte dam.
Article by Antonio Pasolini, a Brazilian writer and video art curator based in London, UK. He holds a BA in journalism and an MA in film and television.