Campo de energia eólica. Crédito: Karsten Wurth/Unsplash

Wind power to become Brazil’s 2nd most used energy development by 2021

In 2017, BRL 11.4 bi (US$3.07 bi) were invested in wind farms, and their production capacity rose 26.2%. Brazil is currently the 8th largest producer worldwide

In no more than 3 years, wind-driven energy will be the second most important source of energy in Brazil, behind only hydroelectric power. According to data by the ABEEólica (Brazilian Association of Wind Energy), this source, which represents 8% of the country’s energy development, will increase 0.5% by 2019 and exceed biomass by 2021.

“Wind energy has shown an impressive vitality in a short time. These figures not only show a consolidated industry, but also that wind energy has a promising future in Brazil,” said in a statement Elbia Gannoum, CEO of ABEEólica.

2017 was particularly positive for the wind-powered industry in Brazil. During this period, the installed infrastructure generated a record amount of 40.46 TWh of energy, meaning a 26.2% growth compared to the previous year. This number represents 7.4% of all energy generation put into the National Interconnected System, and accountable for the supply of 22 million residences, that is, 67 million people.

“Although relatively new in Brazil, as this technology has been more exploited in the last 8 years, wind energy is a consolidated source, its industry is 80% nationalized and there are great perspectives for growth and investment. Last year [2017], the wind industry invested BRL 11.4 billion (US$3.07 bi) in Brazil,” completes Gannoum.

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Wind power: Brazil vs the world

Earlier in 2018, the country climbed to 8th position in the Global Wind Energy Council (Gwec) ranking - by 2012, Brazil ranked modest 15th position. Today, Brazil installed capacity reaches nearly 13 GW, distributed in 520 wind farms with 6,600 operating wind turbines - 80% of this amount is installed in the northeast region.

Overall, distribution of wind energy production Brazil accounts for only 2%, amount similar to France (7th in the ranking) and Canada (9th). Ahead of them are the UK (6th), Spain (5th), India (4th), Germany (3rd), the United States (2nd) and China (top position)

China, by far, is the country producing most energy out of the wind. The Chinese production capacity was 188 GW in 2017, that is 35% of all wind energy generated on the planet - the USA produced 89 GW, or 17% of total. Additionally, the Chinese are the ones investing the most: just last year, 19.6 GW were installed or 37% of all global investment in the industry.

Wind power future in Brazil and in the world

The Global Wind Energy Outlook estimates that all energy produced out of the wind will supply 20% of the world’s electricity by 2030. Until then, the industry may generate more than 2 GW and 2.4 million jobs and reduce carbon emissions by around 3.3 billion tons a year. “Meeting the Paris targets means a completely decarbonized electricity supply well before 2050, and wind power will play the major role in getting us there,” said Steve Sawyer, GWEC Secretary General in a statement.

Brazil’s wind farm growth is essential for the country to fulfill the climate agreement voluntarily signed by the Federal Government, in 2009. At the COP-15, in Copenhagen, the Brazilian Government committed to cut emissions of greenhouse gases by 36.1%-38.9% from the year the summit was held (from 2009) to 2020. “Energy generated by wind is renewable, unpolluted, has an extremely low impact on the environment, and no emissions of CO2 during operations,” explains ABEEólica’s president.

In addition to environmental gain, implementation of wind farms brings positive factors to local economies. At land properties where wind turbines are installed, other production activities can be carried out. It is also an industry that has the power to bring jobs to the most inaccessible and underdeveloped regions, from an economic point of view.

Of all Brazilian states, Rio Grande do Norte is the largest producer, with 137 wind farms and production of 3,722.5 MW - each installed MW represents 15 job openings. At the peak of production, wind farms in the northeast may supply altogether up to 70.5% of the region’s energy needs.

The ABEEólica forecast is that more 200 new wind farms will be installed, generating 4.7 GW, leading the industry to the 17.8W mark - that is, 11% of the country’s total energy production.