Vestas unveiled a 445MW order for its V150 4.2MW turbine in Brazil, taking its total sales of the machine past 1.5GW there and confirming what has become a huge success story for the Danish group in the key South American market.
The latest 106-unit order – Vestas’ largest yet in Brazil – came from local wind power pioneer Casa Dos Ventos, which will use the turbines at its Rio do Vento project in the state of Rio Grande do Norte – a site the developer claims has “some of the best wind resources in the world”.
The OEM will provide a customised solution for the wind farm, including optimised towers, “offering a very competitive levelised cost of energy for Brazil’s free energy market”.
This raises Vestas orders in the region to over 3GW, taking into account the 1.6GW pipeline in neighbouring Argentina, where it also has a nacelle assembly facility.
Vestas has invested heavily in upgrading its production facilities in Ceará, Brazil, to handle the V150 and meet a local demand shift to larger turbines.
The Danish OEM announced plans to assemble and sell the V150 machine in Brazil in October last year as the backlog of smaller V110s it had been producing in the country was winding down. At the time, the Brazilian wind industry had started to upgrade its assembly lines from a 2MW average to 3MW or 4MW, amidst a race to increase the nameplate capacity of turbines and expand factories to comply with the country’s demanding local content policies.
Rogério Zampronha, Vestas managing director for Brazil and Southern LatAm, claimed the V150's ability to optimise output "is key to optimise our customer’s business case certainty in Brazil’s free energy market".
Casa dos Ventos also said it signed a 20-year operation and maintenance contract with Vestas for Rio do Vento complex which will deliver power to the non-regulated market.
With over 50% capacity factors, Brazil's northeastern region is where over 90% of the country's 15GW wind installed capacity is located, with Rio Grande do Norte accounting for over 3GW of the total.
Casa dos Ventos says the V150-furbished Rio do Vento complex will be the biggest in the country and possibly in the region, since it will be expandable to 950MW in a second stage.
Additionally, the company said that project has been designed to also include solar PV, which could add even more capacity. Electrical infrastructure and grid links will be scaled to service both solar and wind, says Lucas Araripe, Casa dos Ventos' new busines director.
"Gaining scale through larger projects, aligned with good winds in the region, makes this project very competitive for our potential clients," he said.
Casa dos Ventos will invest R$2.4bn ($640m) in the first 445MW stage of the project which is due to start spinning in 2021.
Like other wind power players in Brazil, Casa dos Ventos has increasingly been selling power in the non-regulated market to make up for slowing demand in the highly competitive regulated market tenders. The signing of corporate PPAs also allows them to tap into prices estimated to be around 40% higher.
On the other hand, corporations in Brazil, many which are multinationals, are seeking clean energy to supply their operations in the country to meet clean energy and CO2 emissions reduction targets and to reduce costs as regulated market prices have been rising about 10% a year.
Last year, Casa dos Ventos announced a deal to sell power to Brazil's leading mining conglomerate Vale from the Folha Larga complex in Bahia, which will also be furbished with Vestas V150 machines.
Additional reporting by Alexandre Spatuzza