Rialma targets wind debut in A-3

Brazilian construction and energy group Rialma plans to sell power from at least four of its eight wind farm projects in the A-3 auction in June, debuting its operations in the sector, the company's wind power director Ricardo Malaquias told Recharge.

Rialma has already obtained environmental licenses for six of the eight wind farms of its Seridó complex inland in the northeastern state of Rio Grande do Norte.

Each of the plants has a projected installed capacity of 30MW, made up of 20, 1.5MW turbines. The company is concluding studies for the remaining two farms of Seridó, he said.

“We decided to enter the wind power sector because of its price feasibility and because our brand is already linked to renewable power,” he said.

Rialma already operates 82.2MW of small-scale hydroelectric plants in the centre-west state of Goiás.

Malaquias also said that between three and four plants of the Seridó complex will be built to sell power in the non-regulated market, aiming to diversify its revenue portfolio and take advantage of higher power prices, albeit in shorter five-to-seven-year contracts.

Brazil's non-regulated market accounts for about 15% of all power produced by local wind farms.

The 20-year contracts that Rialma hopes to sign at the A-3 auctions will help it obtain financing from the National Development Bank (BNDES)

Malaquias said that it has already received preliminary loan-approvals from BNDES. Rialma aims to fund up to 80% of the project’s construction costs, that are estimated between R$4.5m ($1.99m) and R$5m per installed MW in Rio Grande do Norte state.

The remaining 20% will be funded by the company's own equity.

Malaquias also revealed that he is in talks with all turbine suppliers that produce locally, since Rialma wants to take advantage of competitive financing offered to manufacturers that meet local-content requirements.

The draft rules for the A-3 auction have been published, but the government still needs approve them and to define the maximum price. In the 2013 A-3 auction, the maximum price was set at R$126/MWh.