Brazil achieves 14.71 GW of installed wind power capacity

According to data from the Brazilian Wind Power Association, ABEEólica, Brazil ended 2018 having achieved 14.71 GW of wind power capacity installed over 583 wind farms and more than 7,000 wind turbines distributed between 12 states.

From January to November 2018 (data available as of today) wind power generation rose to 44.62 TWh, meaning that the existing wind power stock injected into the grid the equivalent of the average monthly consumption of over 23 million homes (70 million people).

In addition to the 14.71 GW of installed wind power, a further 4.33 GW are already under construction or in the pipeline. This means there will be at least 19.04 GW by the end of 2024, only taking into account contracts already confirmed by the auctions, public tenders for the free market, as well as contracts signed to date.

Considering the Brazilian electricity mix in December 2018, wind power enjoyed a participation of 9%, as the third most representative source. The second source, biomass, accounted for 9.1% of the mix as at the end of 2018. Wind power will soon overtake biomass to rank second in the Brazilian electricity mix, a truly historic fact for an energy source that has only been more intensively developed for little under ten years. At the start of 2011, Brazil had less than 1 GW of wind power. In 2012, the country was 15th in the Global Wind Energy Council’s installed wind power capacity ranking. It is now on track to 15 GW and achieving 8th place in the world ranking.

As regards its contribution, wind power covered almost 14% of the SIN, the National Interconnected System, during periods recorded from June to November. The monthly information bulletin from the National System Operator for September, for example, shows that on Wednesday, 19 September, wind power achieved a record share by responding to 13.98% of domestic demand.

In the specific case of the Northeast region, demand coverage records already exceed 70% on a daily basis. The most recent record in the region was set on Sunday, 13 November, when the entire sub-system was covered by wind power and although some power was exported, the 8,920 MW output covered 104% of demand with a capacity factor of 86%. On that same date, in addition to one-off record, it is worth noting that wind power covered 100% of demand over a period of two hours. It is also important to mention that, at different times, the Northeast has assumed the role of energy exporter, a reality that is completely the opposite to the history of the sub-market that is a natural energy importer.

2018 contracts

Two new power auctions, known as A-4 and A-6, took place in 2018 and wind power was present in both. In the A-4 auction that was held on 4 April, four projects were awarded (114.4 MW of capacity and 33.4 MW under the physical warranty mechanism for assured energy availability) that must start supplying electrical power as from 1 January 2022. The A-6 auction, held on 31 August, awarded yet more capacity with 48 wind power projects (1,136.30 MW of capacity and 420.10 MW under the physical warranty mechanism). Under this auction, plants must start commercial operations as from 1 January 2024. In total, the 2018 regulated auctions awarded 1.25 GW to 48 wind farms.

Brazil also recorded a good year on the open market, given that at least three major auctions took place promoted by CEMIG (2 auctions) and Casa de los Vientos, designed to commercialise renewable energy. Although the figures for these auctions have not been divulged, ABEEólica estimates that, overall, wind power companies sold around 2 GW on the free market in 2018, which proves that this is a significantly expanding market for the sector.

Taking into account the contracts awarded by the auctions and sales estimates for the free market, total estimated contracts for 2018 amounted to 3.2 GW.