Rio Grande do Sul wind and green hydrogen projects target 13% of power demand

The Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul has inked a three-year memorandum of understanding with Neoenergia, a subsidiary of the Spanish energy giant Iberdrola, for the development of offshore wind energy and the manufacture of green hydrogen.

The MOU seeks for cooperation in other energy-related or electrification-related initiatives relevant to the green hydrogen pilot project. At addition, it stipulates the evaluations required for the development of the chain value, supply chain, and port infrastructure in the port of Rio Grande for the guas Claras offshore wind power production project.

According to Neoenergia, the guas Claras project consists of four wind farms with the capacity to supply 13 percent of the state’s energy demand. Through the Alternative Energy Sources Incentive Program (Proinfa), wind energy has been expanding and consolidating as a supplement to Brazil’s energy supply, particularly in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, which borders Uruguay and Argentina.

470 wind farms account for 7.46%, or 11.5 GW, of Brazil’s installed electricity generation capacity, which is 7.46% or 11.5 GW (Aneel). Each year, the industry expands its capabilities. The installed capacity in 2005 was 27.1 MW, and it is expected to reach 17.9 GW by 2020 (Abeeólica). The Ten-Year Energy Plan (PDE) anticipates an expansion of 18,4 GW by 2026. Brazil ranks ninth in installed capacity and fifth in the expansion of its installed capacity among countries that produce wind energy (GWEC).

Rio Grande do Sul installed the first wind park in Brazil, ranks fourth in Brazil for wind-generated energy generation capacity, has 1.82 GW installed, distributed among 80 wind farms, and is currently constructing three more wind parks. Rio Grande do Sul is believed to have the best potential for wind energy generation in Brazil.

In 2014, the Wind Energy Atlas of Rio Grande do Sul was published

It includes measures of wind potential and wind regime – for the state and its towns – as well as other essential data for future investment planning and decision-making. These tests demonstrated that Rio Grande do Sul is the Brazilian state with the greatest wind potential: onshore (103 GW in 100-meter towers and 245 GW in 150-meter towers) and offshore (34 GW in ponds and 80 GW in the ocean) (Atlas Energia Eólica).

Regarding the projects produced in Rio Grande do Sul, it is important to remark the Campos Neutrais Wind Complex, the largest in Latin America, which consists of 302 wind turbines spread across three wind farms in the municipalities of Chu and Santa Vitória do Palmar and generates 0.6 GW. The creative design of the Honda Energy Wind Farm on the Northern Coast municipality of Xangri-lá is another project worthy of mention. The facility in Sumaré, So Paulo, is devoted to the production of energy to meet the needs of the Honda Automóveis vehicle factory, research center, and headquarters. This totally renewable energy-based business model produced 2,015 automobiles in 2016 and prevented 12,866 tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.

The state government of Rio Grande do Sul is currently monitoring 118 wind farm projects with a potential output of 2.6 GW. These initiatives are all economically and environmentally viable. Other characteristics that aid the wind industry in Rio Grande do Sul include its proximity to the Argentine and Uruguayan markets, as well as a system that helps to balance and supply all three markets.

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