Brazil’s north-eastern state of Ceará has an offshore wind potential of 117GW off its 573km coastline, the Federation of Industries in the State of Ceará (FIEC) told Recharge.

The figure is part of an updated version of the the state’s wind and solar atlas that was commissioned by the state government and FIEC to attract new renewable energy investments.

According to a FIEC spokesperson, the offshore potential is considered to be huge because of the state’s relatively shallow coastline, with most of it comprising of water depths of up to 20 meters.

As Recharge has reported previously, Brazil’s total offshore potential could top 300GW along the whole of its 8,000km coast line, especially in the north-eastern region where over 90% of Brazil’s 15GW onshore wind capacity is installed and most of the estimated 500GW onshore wind potential is located.

However, the two estimates may not be comparable because of the methodologies used. The nationwide 300GW projection, for example, was the most conservative of three compiled in a study made by Brazil's federal energy planning authority EPE. Other estimates point to 600GW off Brazil's coast.

The winds at sea are the same trade winds which spin machines on land, and the new offshore potential estimate in Ceará indicates capacity factors of around 62%, the spokesperson tells Recharge.

The publication of the new atlas – which will be available online – comes as the federal government starts to detail studies about the country’s offshore potential and as companies start to prepare to invest in the sector.

By the end of the year, Brazil’s energetic planning authority (EPE) plans to publish an offshore wind road map, while federal energy company Petrobras is developing a pilot offshore plant and has signed an MOU with Norway’s Equinor to study offshore projects.

At the same time, Ceará is the location of Brazil’s pioneer 720MW Asa Branca offshore project which is still undergoing development for almost a decade and could deploy GE’s 12MW Haliade machines.

The last wind atlas in the state of Ceará was published in 2000 before Brazil’s 1GW a year wind and solar industries took off. At the time Ceará was one of the leading states with some of the first wind farms in the country. These older studies have showed a potential of some 80GW for onshore wind in the state

Ceará today has a 2GW in installed wind power capacity and 218MW in solar capacity.

Neighbouring Rio Grande do Norte and Bahia lead wind capacity with 4.1GW and 4GW respectively. Bahia also has an installed capacity of 654MW of solar PV.

Aside offshore wind capacity, the new study will indicate the hybrid solar and wind potential and social and economic limitations, which aims to help in licensing and development studies.

The new atlas was going to be unveiled this week but last week’s tragic collapse of seven story building in the state’s capital city of Fortaleza – which killed nine people so far – forced the government to delay the announcement.