Brazil: wind is blowing in favor of renewable energy

Mexico City / 7 May 2020

Brazilian history and its natural environment have made hydroelectrical power the main energy source in the country. Wind power comes as a clean, complementary source to provide energy for the country’s economic development. It is the second most important for the country’s energy matrix, providing around 10% of the total. Siemens Gamesa is an important player in the Brazilian wind energy market, having installed close to 3.5 GW. Now, the Siemens Gamesa 5.X turbine platform, the most powerful turbine on the market, makes its debut in Latin America.
Head Corp Comms & PA Latam

After the Second World War, when Brazil started its industrialization process it had the world’s third highest hydraulic potential, just behind Russia and China. It inspired the government to promote policies that encouraged the construction of hydroelectric power plants. With a relief characterized by plateaus, depressions and plains, as well as an abundant water resource, the five regions in which the territory is divided have adequate geographical conditions to develop hydro power. Today, water-generated energy provides 59.9% of the Brazilian electrical matrix.

"In the last government auction, wind power was negotiated in R$ 189/MWh"
During the second half of the 1900s, hydro power in the country grew stronger, sometimes achieving more than 80% of the total electrical energy produced. Nevertheless, the beginning of the 21st century presented situations that caused Brazilian rulers to rethink the nation’s dependence on hydro power. In 2001, reservoir levels fell below the safe levels required for power generation in many plants. The first emergency response was to build coal thermic central plants and import Bolivian natural gas. However, this was followed soon after by the realization that Brazilian natural conditions provided a more sustainable answer: investment in renewable energy.
It took several years for the government to invest in wind power. The country had some commercial experience in wind power since 1992, but they were not aggressive. It was not until 2009 that Brazil held the first energy auction focused exclusively on wind power. At the time, 1,805.7 MW were contracted at an average sale price of R $ 148.39/MWh, enabling the construction of 71 projects.

“Since the first auction, the evolution of wind energy in the country has been impressive, reaching 10% of the Brazilian matrix in this period. It should also be noted that wind energy has become one of the most competitive generation sources, which helps in the sustainable growth of the Brazilian economy, generating employment and wealth in those areas of the country that need the most investment,” said Mauro Bittencourt, Siemens Gamesa Brazil Commercial and Marketing Director. In the last government auction, wind power was negotiated in R$ 189/MWh, while hydro power reached R$ 285/MWh. Also, “The wind energy sector hires currently more than 230 thousand people; considering that it still has potential to create over 200 thousand jobs by 2026, according to a study conducted by ABDI (Brazilian Association for Industrial Development),” explained Bittencourt.

Currently, according to Abeeólica (Brazilian Wind Energy Association), the country has 619 wind farms installed, generating more than 15 GW. Given the Brazilian wind potential, it is expected that the national market will contract 3 GW of wind energy capacity annually over the next ten years. Roberto Prida, Siemens Gamesa Brazil Managing Director, explains that Brazil still has an outstanding growth potential. “Wind is the fastest growing energy resource in the Brazilian energy matrix. The country has one of the best quality onshore wind resources in the world, which allows the generation of energy at a competitive level, and with seasonality complementary to hydroelectric energy, that means we can have wind power during the dry seasons, when there is not enough water to move hydro turbines.”
Next generation turbines to boost wind energy in Brazil
Siemens Gamesa started its manufacturing plant in 2010 in Camaçari, state of Bahia, helping to model the future of wind energy in the country. The first turbine was installed in 2012, in Inveravante’s wind park Dunas de Paracuru in Ceará. Since then, the company has installed more than 1,500 turbines that generate 3.5 GW, around 25% of the Brazilian market share, and maintains over 3.7 GW in seven states. To reach these numbers, there are 525 employees working for the turbine manufacturer.

During the 10 years that Siemens Gamesa assembled nacelles and hubs in Brazil, it has worked to strengthen its supply chain in order to have the best local manufacturing conditions. Supplier capacity development has been a priority since 2011, when the factory started producing G87/G90 2.0-MW hubs using blade bearings, nose cones and hydraulic components that were certified in compliance with local content regulations. Over the

Over time, many turbine models were assembled in Camaçari, such as G97, SG 2.0-114 and SG 2.1-114, SG 2.6-114, and SG 3.4-132, always following nationalization requirements. Since the manufacturing facility was opened in 2011, it has produced over 830 nacelles and 1,470 hubs. Today, more than 200 employees work in the Camaçari plant.

The latest milestone for Siemens Gamesa in Brazil is the third global order for the company’s next generation platform, the Siemens Gamesa 5.X. The benchmark technology will arrive in the country for an order to supply 52 turbines SG 5.8-170 to the global power company AES.

Siemens Gamesa started its manufacturing plant in 2010 in Camaçari
Totaling 312 MW, the turbines will be installed in the Tucano wind farm, also in Bahia, which is scheduled for commissioning in 2022.

The competitiveness of the Platform 5.X will unquestionably be increased for the company’s strong local history. “Over the last decade, Siemens Gamesa has shown an unmatched commitment towards the Brazilian market, bringing its latest technologies and investing heavily in localizing production and creating jobs,” stated Alfonso Faubel, CEO of Siemens Gamesa’s Onshore business unit. The company will adapt the Camaçari plant to assemble the new turbine model.


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