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Brazil's Energisa targets 500MW of renewables by 2017

Brazil’s Energisa will invest R$1.6bn ($890m) over the next three years, about half of which will go into renewable-energy generation.

The utility has set a target of contracting up to 500MW of installed renewables capacity by the end of 2017.

An estimated R$515m will go to wind power, of which R$300m is expected to be invested this year, says Maurício Botelho, director of investor relations.

“Our investment in wind this year will be substantial,” says Botelho.

Energisa is building 150MW of wind projects in Rio Grande do Norte state. The Renascença 1-4 and Ventos de São Miguel wind farms won 20-year contracts in the A-3 power tender in 2010.

The company believes its growth strategy of focusing on renewables will ensure higher cash flow and profits. Its consolidated gross operating revenue grew by 12.5% in 2011 to R$3.55bn, with net income of R$212m — up 9% on 2010.

Growth was driven by high electricity sales and the sale of generation facilities being developed by the company. Energisa has 95MW in operation and 358MW in construction and development.

In December, Energisa agreed to acquire 85% of two sugar-cane biomass ventures with an installed capacity of 110MW, which it will expand to 170MW at a cost of R$490m. Last year, it signed contracts for four wind farms with a total capacity of 150MW in Rio Grande do Norte state that will cost R$560m in all, and purchased three hydro plants totalling 31.2MW.