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Brazil Wind Farms Producing More Power Than Forecast, Group Says

Brazilian wind farms produced more electricity last year than their owners were expecting, a trade group said.

The farms’ average efficiency was 54 percent in 2012, 12 percentage points higher than forecast, Elbia Melo, president of Sao Paulo-based Associacao Brasileira de Energia Eolica, said yesterday in a telephone interview.

Wind-farm development is booming in Brazil as companies seek to use the country’s strong, steady breezes to generate cheap energy. The total amount of wind farms operating in Brazil will more than double this year to about 6,000 megawatts, she said.

Critics of “the sector were justified in their concerns that the wind farms won’t operate at the level they promised,” Melo said. “They’re going to operate at a much higher level.”

Abeeolica, as the trade group is known, conducted a study of wind-farm capacity factors, a ratio of turbines’ electricity output to their installed capacity, which gives an indication of their efficiency, she said. The data for last year concerns projects that won contracts in a government-organized auction in 2009. In August, the ratio reached 71 percent, more than double the global average of 35 percent.

The projects produced about twice as much electricity per megawatt of installed capacity compared to wind farms that were built as part of the country’s 2002 renewable-energy incentive program known as Proinfa, she said.

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