Brazil, the South American powerhouse whose energy mix relies mostly on hydropower, has reached 1 GW in installed wind power. That is enough to power a city of 1.5 million people.
Most of the country’s wind power is installed in the northeast and south regions of the country. According to ABEEólica, the Brazilian wind power association, there are 51 wind farms in the country, distributed over nine states.
It said the potential for more wind power is huge if tower installation costs are brought down as well as the cost to distribute this type of power. The organization says it needs more official support to expand.
Despite that, the organization expects that by 2013 Brazil’s energy matrix will be receiving 5.3 GW of wind power. Investments should exceed US$15bn and will be made by the private sector through federal government incentives distributed through a program called Proinfa, dedicated to promoting alternative energy.
Currently there are 36 wind farms under construction with a capacity to generate another 1 GW. They are expected to go online before the end of the year.
Compared to other emerging economies such as China and India, Brazil is lagging behind when it comes to wind power, mainly due to competition from cheaper hydropower. Wind power currently costs around US$86 per MWh while hydropower costs US$73. But this may start to change as regional governments start to assess local potential to tap the power of wind.
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.