Reportagem sobre os países emergentes no A Word About Wind destacou a Casa dos Ventos como uma das pioneiras no investimento de energia eólica no Brasil
1) I am aware of Mario Araripe’s background in turbine development. What does he think will be the next big changes for turbines?
Mario Araripe has previously worked in the real estate, textile and automotive manufacturing sectors.
2) What can wind learn from the other sectors that Mr. Araripe has worked in?
I think that, in the same way as the real estate business, developing wind projects is all about establishing yourself in the best locations. From the textile business, the relation is the need for state of the art technology to achieve high productivity levels and the need to monitor the availability and performance. An analogy to car manufacturing would be the necessity to use robust components and systems that will operate in a reliable way during several years of operation.
3) I have seen the name Odilon Camargo come up a few times. How significant has he been in the growth of Casa dos Ventos?
Odilon is a college classmate and longtime friend. He has devoted much of his time to the field of wind energy, from research and development of turbines to resource assessment and energy production estimates. In the early years of Casa dos Ventos, we established a partnership with his Camargo Schubert with the objective to identify the most promising wind resources of Brazil. At that time, there were no government auctions and you had to truly believe wind energy would be a reality in our country to make this kind of investment. Odilon´s company supported us on locating areas on our early development and comprehending these wind resources so we could be efficient in extracting energy from these regions. Together we elaborated wind maps of several estates of the country and committed to an exchange of knowledge that turned out to be very relevant in the foundations of Casa dos Ventos’ wind resource assessment department.
4) What is the company’s strategy for the next 3-5 years?
We have contributed with approximately 5 GW of installed capacity that secured PPAs in the Brazilian market, projects that are already operational or under construction. This represents around 30% of all of the projects that are in this same stage in Brazil. We have done this by proprietary investment in the construction of circa 1.1GW and by teaming up and providing 4GW of projects to the main players in Brazil. We intend to continue being relevant in both areas, sourcing the market with high quality and low uncertainty projects and building a sizable and proprietary platform of operational assets.
5) What are the biggest challenges for the Brazilian wind market? And the biggest opportunities?
The Brazilian wind market is very promising do to the singularity of our wind resources and the complementarity of its generation to the country´s energy matrix. The high wind speeds, combined with the consistent direction and low turbulence enables us to have one of the lowest costs of wind energy in the world. Not only it is competitive in the country, but it generates on the season that our matrix is more vulnerable due to its strong dependency with the reservoirs of the hydro plants. There is also a geographical complementarity because the most prominent areas are located in the northeast of the country, region that has a reduced installed capacity and was an energy importer for a long time. These variables, combined with the establishment of an industry of equipment suppliers, brought innumerous opportunities and allowed wind energy to be the fastest growing source of energy in the past years. The source gained its relevance in our matrix and ranked Brazil as one of the top 10 wind energy producers in the world. Although there is a huge potential, there are also challenges looking. The first is in the demand for energy itself, because of the current economic crisis Brazil is going through. Industrial and residential demand have dropped drastically and this leads to the slowing down of new government auctions since there is no need for additional energy in the system. Another issue that is critical is the transmission infrastructure. The government conducted insufficient transmission auctions during some years and when you add that to the difficulty that some transmission companies are facing with delays on schedule of construction, the consequence is a bottleneck in transmission that restricts many wind projects. A third variable that has to be worked is the liquidity of the credit to wind projects. Since PPAs are denominated in local currency, this limits funding to the Brazilian financial institutions. They have supported the growth of wind energy in Brazil but there have been challenges in the path. Access to credit in a global scale would bring substantial benefits to the dynamism and growth of our wind industry.
6) Are you confident in the prospects for Brazil’s wind industry in the coming years?
I am confident in the fundamentals of wind energy for our country. As mentioned above, we have a one of a kind resource that provides reliability to our supply and this has to be exploited. What can eventually hold back the investments are external factors, but not variables intrinsic of our activity. As also mentioned, we have some challenges, but I believe they are being addressed. The Brazilian economy is coming to a turning point and is starting to recover, rising the need for additional installed capacity and an agenda of new auctions. The transmission bottleneck is also being resolved with the consummation of two transmission auctions last year, one to be held next month and a fourth still in 2017. A plan with an unprecedented investment scale that will reestablish the reliability of our transmission system. With energy demand, possibility to connect to the grid, and the competitive advantage that wind has in our nation, the perspective is that it will continue having a protagonist role in the auctions and further increase its participation in our energy matrix.
Fonte: A Word About Wind