Brazil’s government sees potential to deploy offshore wind capacity of 16GW by 2050, according to a long-term energy expansion plan put out to public consultation last week, mines and energy minister Bento Albuquerque said.

The country currently has no turbines in the water, and the offshore wind expansion would depend on a reduction of investment costs and technological advances, which are already being registered in order to reach a higher competitiveness, the minister said in a recorded message to a webinar on Brazil’s offshore wind opportunity organised by the World Bank and the Global Wind Energy Council.

Other challenges to offshore wind in Brazil are port infrastructure and the establishment of a specific legal and regulatory framework for wind at sea, Albuquerque added.

“The preliminary mapping of offshore wind in Brazilian waters already has identified wind speeds that are higher than the world average, opening new perspectives for the exploration of this energy resource,” he stressed.

Brazil in its last ten-year energy plan from 2019 for the first time had considered offshore wind as a candidate for expansion, although its investment costs are still seen rather high, the minister said.

All solar and wind power combined according to the 2050 energy expansion plan is expected to surge to 195GW in 2050 from 16GW now, according to the BN Americas news wire. That would give renewables a 33% share in the country’s future energy mix.

The World Bank at the webinar reiterated its estimate for a gigantic potential of 1.2TW for wind power off Brazil’s coasts, of which 480GW are seen as bottom fixed in waters of up to 50 metres, and another 748GW as floating wind in deeper waters.

Brazil’s energy planning agency EPE as part of its Offshore Wind Roadmap earlier this year had estimated the country’s offshore wind potential as as high as 700GW.