Bahia eyes RE research center

The state government of Bahia, in Brazil's sunny and windy northeastern region, will invest R$100m ($45m) over the next five years to develop a renewable energy research center.

The state expects to obtain an initial R$16m from the federal government to purchase equipment and to upgrade laboratories, Rafael Valverde, energy affairs advisor to the Bahia state government's industry secretariat, tells Recharge.

“We are already discussing some projects,”he says, adding the state hopes to obtain the funds before yearend.

Bahia wants to utilize the proposed center to develop local quality production and operating standards for wind power equipment. Other objectives include the development of processes to certify and calibrate equipment, and material fatigue research.

The new center could also work on confidential research for private companies, says Valverde.

The center will be located on the Cimatec campus – a technical school sponsored by the Federation of Bahia Industries FIEB - in the city of Salvador. The school is seeking to expand existing partnerships with Germany's Fraunhofer Energy Alliance and Spain's Cener.

Bahia's initiative is one of several public and private research centers for wind, solar and biomass technology that have been announced in the past year.

In the wind sector, the Brazilian Wind Power Association (Abeeólica) has been trying since 2012 to promote a wind power research network to align information from several universities and private research groups throughout Brazil that already study wind power.

Bahia is attracting much of the new wind capacity commissioned yearly and is where turbine makers Acciona, Gamesa and Alstom have factories.