Brazil's southern state of Rio Grande do Sul expects wind equipment manufacturers to invest R$250m ($106m) in 2014 to expand local production facilities and build new plants, said Marco Franceschi, energy and infrastructure director of the state's development agency AGDI.
He said that he is in talks with up to five new companies
that are studying investing in the state. They include turbine, blade,
electrical equipment, converter and control system manufacturers.
“We have the wind, we have the infrastructure and we have
a sizable port,” Franceschi said, referring to the port town of Rio Grande.
According to Franceschi, the decision to invest reflects the state government's strategy to fast-track licensing and
financing processes, and offer subsidies for land acquisition.
“Through AGDI, we have unified the processes by which
investors can quickly meet red-tape requirements,” he said. “They have to talk
to one person only.”
To further attract investments, the state is supporting
creation of common norms for municipal permits for the wind sector through the
association of 23 city governments, and a technology research park with the
Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul.
The association should be formalised
on March 17 and the research centre should be announced this week.
Rio Grande do Sul is one the pioneer wind states where
some the oldest plants are located. According to data from power regulator
Aneel, it currently has 18 wind farms in operation, with a combined capacity of
513MW, 14% of the country's total.
Another 24 farms with a capacity of 572MW are
being built. It has a wind potential of 115GW at 100 metres, according to the
most recent wind map.
Brazilian states are in a strong competition to attract
investments from wind companies, but because of a federal agreement, they
cannot offer aggressive tax incentives. Instead, they offer other advantages
such as reduction in bureaucracy, infrastructure and, in Rio Grande do Sul's
case, subsidies in the acquisition of real estate.
“We offer strong subsidies in industrial districts for
companies wishing to set up shop,” Franceschi said. “One example is that one hectare in
an industrial park is priced at R$46,000 per hectare, instead of the market
price of R$1m.”
He added that Rio
Grande will allow wind companies to start using marine transport to deliver the
blades and nacelles to other regions, aside from the fact that companies could also
use the structure to export to neighboring Argentina and Uruguay.
So far, the only turbine manufacturer located in the state
is Argentina's Impsa. Wobben Windpower (a unit of Germany's Enercon), France's
Alstom, Brazil's Engebasa and local engineering Intecnial have tower production
facilities in Rio Grande do Sul.