Brazil capacity factors 'average 35%'

Brazilian wind farms registered an average capacity factor of 35% in January 2014, according to new data from Brazil's Power Trading Chamber (CCEE).

CCEE compared this with capacity factors in China, the US and Spain, which in 2012 were 18%, 33% and 24% respectively.

According to Brazil's Wind Power Association (Abeeolica) and other specialists, strong constant winds in Brazil's northeastern and southern regions are behind the higher capacity factors.

CCEE's report also showed that capacity factors peak between August and November in Brazil, reaching 47%.

Turbines operating in the northeastern regions registered the highest capacity factors in January. Those in the state of Bahia reached 45%, followed by wind farms in Ceará, with 43% and then the ones in Rio de Janeiro state with 42%.

The lowest capacity factors in January were registered in the southern states of Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul with 16%, 19% and 22% respectively.

The report also said that Brazil's operating installed capacity reached 2.21GW in January 2014, a 20% increase from the 1.81GW registered in January 2013.

The increase is a result the inauguration of new wind farms since last year, and does not include plants that are standing idle because of a lack of grid connections. A total of 89 wind farms were in operation.

CCEE said that around 15% of all power generated by wind farms in January was traded in the non-regulated market.

The rest was supplied through long-term contracts in the regulated market or were sold to federal power company Eletrobras through contracts signed during the Proinfa phase, Brazil's 1990s programme to kick-start the renewable energy sector.