Enercon’s Wobben Windpower Buying Land for Brazil Wind Projects

  • Company acquired 21,000 hectares in windy northeast region
  • Land in Piaui state enough for 1 gigawatt of capacity

The German turbine maker Enercon GmbH is planning to build its own wind farms in Brazil that it will eventually sell to other companies.

The company bought 21,000 hectares (52,000 acres) of land in the northeastern state of Piaui, big enough to build about 1 gigawatt of wind capacity, according to Fernando Real, president of Enercon’s Wobben Windpower unit in Brazil. That would require as much as 9 billion reais ($2.7 billion) of investment.

“We are in the initial phase of wind measurement in the area,” Real said in an e-mail. “It is a long term project, with a high potential of generation.”

The company has no plans to participate in Brazil’s energy auctions, where developers compete for long-term contracts to sell power. Nor will it sell electricity on the spot market, Real said. Instead, the goal is to sell the wind farms under development in Piaui, and to supply turbines for the projects.

The move comes as Wobben expands its production capacity in Brazil and its orders slow.

Wobben is Brazil’s third largest turbine supplier based on installed capacity, with 1.2 gigawatts operating in the country, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. It trails General Electric Co. and Gamesa Corp. Tecnologica SA.

Wobben’s orders have declined in recent years, and it currently has 239 megawatts of turbines contracted to be delivered. Of the six turbine producers in Brazil, only Vestas Wind Systems A/S has less.

Wobben opened the country’s first turbine-factory in 1995. It now has four manufacturing sites, and is investing in a fifth facility that will make towers for use in Brazil and elsewhere in Latin America. The company has four wind parks in operation in Brazil.

“Piaui is the new frontier for wind market in Brazil,” Helena Chung, an analyst with Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said in an interview. “The region has a high wind potential, and we expect a boom of performance there.”

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