ARARIPINA, Brazil – After seven years of intense research that led to a new method of harnessing wind energy, Brazil is exploiting its wind potential and regions like the arid northeastern Agreste are developing it for its powerful impact on local economies.
The usual pictures of Brazil’s wind parks are giant towers turning their blades in time with the wind near the nation’s shoreline.
But in a region so little affected by technology, the Chapada do Araripe is constructing the largest wind-power complex in Latin America, one that will produce enough energy to supply the entire state of Pernambuco, and 30 percent of the amount produced in Belo Monte, the controversial hydroelectric power producer in the Brazilian Amazon.
“There’s probably no other wind park in the world of such size and dimensions – maybe the United States has the same quality, but not with the dimensions we have here,” Mario Araripe, president of the Casa dos Ventos, the company responsible for creating and administering the Ventos do Araripe III wind complex, told EFE.
With an investment of 1.8 billion reais (some $547.28 billion), the complex inaugurated last June 9 aims to boost the economy of the arid northeastern Agreste region, more specifically along the state line between Pernambuco and Piaui.
“We have come to produce around 1,600 megawatts, and that is 50 percent more than the brutal Joao Camara complex, now the biggest in Brazil and in Latin America,” Araripe said.
Operating at less than 87.4 percent of its total capacity, the clean energy of the wind park is already capable of annulling the greenhouse gas emissions of all the cars in Piaui state.
Though Brazil in general remains in a period of economic recession and political crisis, Araripe guaranteed that there is no more promising area of investment anywhere than the sources of renewable energy.
“They can say there’s no need for more energy if the GNP doesn’t grow, but when that need reappears, we’ll have to supply the demand fast, and in an economic comeback we can’t have limited it,” Araripe said.
In discussing the bureaucratic red tape and high tax burden imposed by the nation, Araripe joked that “the wind doesn’t belong to the government,” just as water doesn’t belong to the hydroelectric dams and petroleum doesn’t belong to thermoelectric companies.