Wind training centre for Brazil state

Brazil's federal power company Eletrosul and others have signed a protocol to create the Centro de Pesquisa e Desenvolvimento em Energia Eólica do Sul (CPDEO-Sul) wind power research centre to train workers for the sector in Brazil's southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul.

The group – including the union of wind power companies of Rio Grande do Sul (Sindieolica), the city of Rio Grande, the renewable energy promotion NGO Instituto Ideal and three universities – will now hold meetings to define details of activities, including possible training courses and interaction with universities.

According to Instituto Ideal, the training courses will aim to prepare a qualified workforce for the wind manufacturing industry and to wind farm operators. One possibility is for companies to promote specific courses in CPDEO-Sul.

Additionally, the universities – which are the federal universities of Rio Grande (Furg), Pelotas (UFPel) and Santa Maria (UFSM) – will study ways to create their own courses, or introduce themes of wind power in current courses.

There is no deadline for the conclusion of initial studies nor for when CPDEO-Sul will be created. According to Instituto Ideal's president, Mauro Passos, the talks about the center started two years ago.

This is the latest in a series of research centers focused on renewable energy that are being created in Brazil.

The state of Bahia is also planning a renewable energy research center. The state of Rio Grande do Norte already has a privately-held research center, US group GE is building an R&D facility in Rio de Janeiro – which will include wind power - while Brazil's wind power association Abeeólica is developing a wind power research network.

The drive to develop local technology and know-how is a fast-growing wind power sector – which will double operating installed capacity to some 7.3GW by year-end from a current 3.6GW – and meet demand from the government for local content in the equipment as a condition for cheaper financing from the National Development Bank BNDES.

The creation of CPDEO-Sul research center is also part of a state-wide effort to attract investments from wind power equipment manufacturers to Rio Grande do Sul, which has 115GW wind power potential at 100 meters.

Rio Grande is one the biggest ports in Brazil and located in the one of the regions with one the highest wind potentials in the region.

The state government is offering incentives and plans to promote the use the Rio Grande port to ship wind power equipment to other regions and to other countries.