Brazil is a country with high potential to produce wind energy, ranked the 10th largest in the world, according to the Global Wind Energy Council. Here we will outline how to obtain the license to deploy and operate a wind farm in Brazil.
Due to the country’s size there are several locations in its territory that allows this type of energy source. Currently, wind energy already represents 5.8% of the national energy matrix, with a total deployed capacity of 8.12 GW accross 322 power plants. In the auction held by ANEEL in November 2015, 20 new wind energy projects were awarded.
The state of Rio Grande do Norte is the largest producer of wind power in the country, with a total capacity of 2 243 MW, followed by the states of Ceará, Bahia and Piauí. The Northeast region is the leading producer of wind energy in Brazil, responsible for 75% of the total national power generation of this source. This is due to the fact that the region holds the largest wind energy potential, with favourable speed, stability and direction.
The largest power plant currently operational in Brazil is the Parque Eólico de Osório, located in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. The park has a deployed capacity of 150 MW, distributed across 75 aerogenerators, with a total production of 425 GW yearly.
The projects currently taking place are still small considering the potential the country possesses. The main reason is the high production costs, especially for equipment and maintenance. The costs can reach BRL 203.46/MWh, while the production of energy on hydroelectrics is around BRL 135 / MWh. Other reasons include the environmental impact, since the wind turbines cause turbulence in the wind currents, especially in places such as the state of Ceará where the sand dunes can lose their natural structure. The lack of proper transmission infrastructure is another obstacle for wind energy growth.
Micro and minigenerators are the only ones covered with incentives from the government, which are mostly tax exemptions. São Paulo offers a ICMS discount correlating to the amount of energy reinjected in the power distribution grid. Producers of equipment for eolic energy generation are also exempt from the tax in the state.
Regulation of Wind Energy Projects
The operation and deployment of wind energy activities independently of size is regulated by ANEEL, the Electricity Regulatory Agency. All wind plants with capacity superior to 5 MW must be authorised by the agency, through the delivery of proper documentation and an analysis process. Projects with capacity under or equal to 5 MW, usually used for residential generation, must only register their information with the ANEEL website concerning the undertaking, and are not exempt from the applicable environmental policies and requirements from public regulation. Micro and minigenerators must comply to a specific resolution, regarding energy compensation, which means the return of the extra power generated in a small plant to the grid for a discount in the bill.
Those interested in deploying wind energy projects must go through a process defined by ANEEL to acquire the proper authorisation for deployment and operation. ANEEL will only provide authorisation for projects that are planned to be deployed within 3 years from when the authorisation is granted. The process is composed of three steps:
- Compliance with technical and legal requirements
- Project execution / deployment
The owner can only connect the plant to the electrical grid, perform both testing and commercial operations, after publishing the resolution specifically authorisng the generation in the plant.
ANEEL analyse the following requirements of the generation capacity and general operation conditions of the plant:
- Study of the wind potential in the region
- Deployed capacity
- Access to the transmission and distribution facilities, regarding connections and use
The company responsible for the site must present the documents listed below, which will be sent to ANEEL for analysis:
- Environmental Impact Study (EIA), the Estudo de Impacto Ambiental, Environmental Impact Report (RIMA), the Relatório de Impacto Ambiental, or the environmental research formally required by the environmental organism, according to a specific environmental regulation
- Basic design project
- Testing results
- Updated history of climate and wind speed measurements
All the documents must be signed by a CREA registered engineer responsible for the project.
Environmental Impact Evaluation
ANEEL demands the delivery of an environmental impact evaluation by a third party company. Note that the costs of the process are paid by the company and the team is responsible for the results of the evaluation. The documentation is composed of the EIA, the environmental impact study and RIMA, the environmental impact report. Both must be submitted to the state environmental organism, where the plant is located and IBAMA.
The Environmental Impact Study must contain the information listed below, following specific legislation, especially the directives stated in the Política Nacional do Meio Ambiente, or Environmental National Policy:
- Environmental study of the area directly and indirectly impacted by the project, with complete description and analysis of the natural resources and their interaction with the undertaking
- Analysis of the environmental impact of project and its alternatives
- Definition of actions to diminish any possible environmental impact, evaluating the efficiency of each one
- Creation of a programme to manage and supervise the positive and negative impacts, stating the factors to be considered
The RIMA will reflect the conclusion of the environmental impact study. It is also necessary to present 5 copies containing the information listed below:
- Objectives and purposes for the project, its relation and compatibilities to the sector policies, plans and governmental programmes
- Description of the project and its technological and location alternatives, specifying each one of them
- Summary of results from the study of the environmental diagnosis of the project impact area
- Description of any possible environmental impact of the deployment and operation
- Future environmental quality of the area impacted by the project
- Description of the expected effect of actions to diminish negative impacts, mentioning those which could not be avoided
- Management and supervision programme
- Recommendations regarding the most favourable alternative