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Brazil headed to become one of three top windpower investing countries

Brazil is headed to become one of three countries that make the biggest investment in harnessing the wind as an energy source and climb to the sixth largest global installed capacity by 2016.

This is the outlook given by the CEO of the Brazilian Windpower Association (ABEEólica), Elbia Gannoum, at the 12th National Meeting of Power Industry Actors in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday (May 28).

Last year, Brazil ranked fourth in terms of wind capacity expansion adding 2.5 GW (gigawatts), behind China, the United States and Germany. In terms of installed capacity, it ranked tenth, three levels up from the previous year.

Currently, 262 wind farms are operating in Brazil, totaling an installed capacity of 6.56 GW, enough to supply electricity to a city the size of São Paulo (an estimated nearly 12 million in 2014). Elbia Gannoum told Agência Brasil that by the end of 2015, the sector will reach 10 GW installed capacity. And by 2019, this number will get to 18 GW, “not to mention future auctions. This number is what we have already secured with our existing contracts,” he said. Another 3 GW is currently being contracted, and Elvia Gannoum expects that the upcoming auctions on August 21 and November 13 will add 3 GW and 4 GW to that.

According to Gannoum, however, Brazil cannot stop investing in thermal plants because they are an important part of ensuring energy security. “The future trends for the power grid, with the existing hydroelectric capabilities, and an upward trend for other complementary renewable sources, led mainly by wind, and with some contribution from thermal sources, is a sign that the government [is working to] ensure energy security,” she said.

With the current installed capacity of 6.56 GW, the wind power industry is able to cut emissions by 11.6 million tons of carbon dioxide, Gannoum reckons, and she estimates that in 2019, with the capacity at 18 GW, the reductions can get to 30 million tons of carbon dioxide. “About three times what we have [our emission cuts] today,” she said.

Translated by Mayra Borges

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