By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Due to the surge in industrial activity in the last few decades, Brazil has began to worry about its current energy sources and has started to invest in new, complementary sources to meet its energy needs. One of the most promising sectors, wind power, is expected to invest close to R$15 billion in 2014 alone.
“Wind energy has a very promising future in the country and has become a fundamental part of the Brazilian energy matrix composition,” says Elbia Melo, president of the Associação Brasileira de Energia Eólica – ABEEólica (Brazilian Wind Energy Association).
According to government figures, nearly 75 percent of all energy produced in Brazil today comes from hydroelectric plants, but recent studies have shown that the potential for the growth of this type of energy production source is likely to end in the near future.
“We still have a potential for some growth in hydroelectric production, but this potential is likely to end by 2030,” says Claudio Sales, president of Acende Brasil Institute, a think tank focused on Brazil’s energy sector. “Wind energy production will not be an alternative but a very important complementary source of energy for Brazil’s electric matrix.”
According to ABEEólica Brazil had in August of 2014 an installed capacity of 5 GW, sufficient to power a city the size of São Paulo, in other words approximately four million households or twelve million people. The country’s potential for wind energy production, however, is estimated at 350 GW, with the most promising results likely in the Northeastern and Southern regions of the country.
Brazil, which only started to invest significant volumes of capital in wind energy sources at the start of the 21st century, was ranked 13th in the world in 2013 in the number of wind parks installed and the seventh country with the largest number of newly installed wind parks for that year. Today there are 201 wind parks installed in Brazil.
ABEEólica forecasts that the country will close 2014 as one of the first five countries with the most investments made and newly installed wind parks constructed this year.
The association notes that while today wind energy represents five percent of Brazil’s national energy matrix its forecast is that the segment will continues its strong growth trend and become responsible for ten percent of the matrix by 2018. “We are currently in the consolidation and sustainability phase of the wind energy industry in Brazil,” says Melo.
According to forecasts by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), an organization headquartered in Belgium that represents energy-related companies in more than seventy countries, for the 2014-2018 period Brazil will have an exponential growth, becoming the leader in Latin American in wind energy production.
During GWEC’s release of the Global Wind Report – Annual Market Update in April of 2014, the Council’s Secretary General, Steve Sawyer noted Brazil’s growth in wind power stating that the country is likely to rank among the ten largest producers of wind energy in the very near future. “The issues now for wind power in Brazil are enviable,” concluded Sawyer.