At Windpower 2012 I had the chance to quickly catch up with Lauro Fiuza, President of the Brasilian Wind Energy Association and CEO of ABE Eolica. He had previously participated in a panel on international wind energy markets, which outlined global developments from Canada to Morocco. The Brasilian wind energy market already has more than 1,500 MW installed and is expected to grow to over 30 GW by 2025. Brasil now gets 85% of its energy mix from renewables, the vast majority of which is generated using hydro power.

The Energy Collective: What do you see as the biggest danger to the Brasilian wind power industry?

Fiuza: We have done extremely well for ourselves in the past few years, growing significantly across the board. However, we need to move away from our current closed auctioning system to a more market-friendly bidding process. We are currently conducting several studies to see how we can implement an open market that would allow any consumer of over 5 MW to purchase their power on the open market.

The Energy Collective: What’s the time frame for that?

Fiuza: We are hoping to have it done within the next 12 months, though that of course is dependant on our public policy makers. In addition, in order for this be effective, we need to develop better mechanisms to deal with renewable intermittency.

The Energy Collective: Considering hydro’s dominance in Brasil, wouldn’t it seem a natural partner in that area?

Fiuza: Yes, we’re certainly considering small-scale hydro, but also wind + solar combinations. We’re lucky that we’re able to do that now. Initially, hydro’s dominance was almost a barrier because we had to convince public policy makers and consumers alike of the need to diversify their energy mix.

The Energy Collective: The Brasilian wind market has done very well for itself. How much of that would you attribute to consumer demand?

Fiuza: Most of that growth has stemmed from pushes by us (Ed. Note: the Brasilian wind industry). However, consumers have been expressing preferences towards companies that operate with green power, which can only be a good sign for our industry. It took a lot of convincing and small steps to make wind a respectable option in Brasil, but all our work is starting to pay off.

The Energy Collective: Many foreign companies are looking at Brasil specifically, and Latin America in general, to expand their business. How would you rate their chances?

Fiuza: In manufacturing, we already have 11 turbine manufacturers, so the market appears to be quite saturated. If I were looking to invest, I’d take a good look at the parts & severs sector in wind, which is wide open in Brasil. The government is actively looking for companies to come in and open a plant, so there’s significant opportunity there. Much like the US, our government will favour companies that come in and actually create things in Brasil, rather than foreign companies that just open a sales office.

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