First wind-only energy auction coming

BRAZIL - The Brazilian Ministry of Energy and Mines recently issued rules of procedure for the first public auction specifically for wind power reserve energy.

So far, 441 wind projects that amount to 13.3 gigawatts of installed capacity have submitted an application to take part in the event.

Planned, newly built, and operational windfarms are allowed to participate in the auction.

All parties interested in submitting bids must have been granted permits by Brazil's energy regulatory agency no later than June 29.

The auction will be on November 25.

Companies winning an energy supply contract from the federal government in this auction must guarantee effective supply for 20 years, starting in July 2012. They are also required to submit a participation warranty of 1% of the investment value of the facilities and equipment that will be used to generate the energy being auctioned.

Although the government has not commented on anything regarding the auction's starting price, it is expected that it will be about $115 to $126 per megawatt-hour (MWh). That is far lower than the average $155/MWh currently received by windfarms built and operated under the Program for the Promotion of Alternative Sources of Energy (PROINFA). Contracts will be awarded to the bidder offering the minimum price per megawatt-hour.

Starting in 2002 and going until 2006, then extended until the end of next year, PROINFA is responsible for the generation of 547.7 megawatts (MW), making up 0.52% of Brazil's operating capacity.

Another shortcoming for companies wanting to take part in the auction is that all equipment used to produce electricity at windfarms must be new, without previous use and, if imported, have a nominal output capacity of more than 2 MW.

This restriction, purposely applied by the federal government to foster manufacturing nationwide, leaves out of the competiton some of the most commonly used equipment. Specifically, the 1.5-MW GE turbine and the 1.85-MW Vestas turbine. On the other hand, it benefits companies like Wobben a subsidiary of Germany's Enercon GmbH, and Argentina's IMPSA Wind, as both perform full manufacturing operations within Brazil.

Under these conditions, some concern has arisen as to whether Brazil's own manufacturing industry will be able to provide all the windfarm equipment that will be demanded from now on.


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