Vestas ramps-up to meet Brazil rules

Danish wind group Vestas has underscored its ambitions in the competitive Brazilian market, announcing a R$100m ($43.5m) investment in meeting the country’s stringent local-content rules and confirming it plans to be involved in this year’s auctions.

Vestas said today it will localise 70% of 2MW turbine hub and nacelle manufacturing at its facility near Fortaleza in the northeastern state of Ceara.

Blades and towers will also be sourced locally as needed to meet the content requirements, which are set by Brazil’s development bank BNDES and dictate whether projects using turbines can qualify for the best finance rates.

The move will gear the company up for production of more than 400MW a year, with the potential to reach 800MW.

The ramp-up will create up to 300 direct jobs and some 1,500 indirect posts in Brazil, said the Danish group.

Expertise in the V110-2.0 MW turbine will be fed into Brazil, with local workers given training in Europe and the US.

Jean-Marc Lechêne, Vestas executive vice president of manufacturing and global sourcing, said: “Brazil is one of the most competitive and fastest-growing markets in the world.

“We are confident these investments will meet local content requirements and position Vestas as a key player in the Brazilian market.”

The local-content rules have tested the resolve of foreign manufacturers in Brazil, with producers facing the choice between significant investments in the market or facing a big disadvantage in competing for business.

Vestas confirmed it plans to "participate in the upcoming auctions for projects throughout 2014".

Elbia Melo, CEO of Brazilian wind association ABEEolica, said: “We welcome and encourage the additional competition this investment brings.”