Sunday, 22 July 2012

Cheap wind power tested as Renova starts farms: Corporate Brazil
1 Jul 2012

Renova Energia SA (RNEW11)'s strategy to produce wind power cheaper than anywhere else in the world will be tested as it brings its first turbines online, helping to transform Brazil into the world's fourth-biggest market. Renova, which counts utility Light SA (LIGT3) as among its biggest shareholders, started operating South America's biggest wind farm cluster in northeastern Brazil last week. The company, based in Sao Paulo, plans to build at least six farms next year.

Brazil aims to more than double its capacity to generate wind power next year by harnessing the same weather system that brought Portuguese and Spanish sailors to the continent in the 1500s. Renova is betting its farms can produce energy for as little as a quarter of the price needed to make some European projects viable.

"There's uncertainty over whether these turbines will perform as expected", Unai Otazua Aranguren, director of renewable energy consultant Garrad Hassan Group Ltd.'s Brazil office, said by telephone. "The wind here behaves differently to what we have in Europe and the U.S".

Renova rose 0.3% to 31 reais in Sao Paulo trading on June 29, bringing its year-to-date gain to 16%. It has more than doubled since it first sold shares in 2010. Brazil's government is promoting wind and other renewable energy projects in a bid to diversify away from hydroelectric plants, which account for 66% of the nation's installed capacity. Wind farms can help shore up the supply of electricity in drier months when dam reservoirs diminish.

Read More…