Chinese wind turbine maker Goldwind has signed a new contract in Brazil, which expands the company’s local presence and signals the eastern appetite for more business in Latin America’s largest wind energy market.
The agreement is the first in the country involving new 4S series wind turbines, with a capacity of around 4 megawatts per machine, and was signed with the power company CGN Energy, also under Chinese control.
With the measure, China expands its participation in the renewable energy industry in Brazil, where it already has a dominant position in the supply of modules for solar plants, but little presence so far in the wind segment.
“We confirmed the contracting of Goldwind to supply 18 GW155 wind turbines, totaling 82.8 megawatts of installed power,” said CGN.
CGN also indicated that the equipment will be used to expand its Lagoa do Barro wind farm in Piauí.
Goldwind said that delivery of the wind turbines should begin in 2021 and that, with this contract, the company reaches the mark of “almost 500 megawatts” of capacity negotiated in Brazil.
The company had announced in the country, until now, only agreements that involved repairs and works to resume the operation of plants with old wind turbines, signed with the state company Chesf, of Eletrobras, and the generator Energimp.
The Chinese manufacturer was one of the most installed new wind turbines in the world in 2019, with the fourth position in a ranking of the WoodMackenzie consultancy, after having obtained the global vice-leadership in 2018.
However, recent changes in the Brazilian wind market should favor the business of new suppliers such as the Chinese, which in recent years have had difficulties entering the country, said Camila Ramos, director of Clean Energy Latin America (CELA).
He noted that many wind projects now obtain financing in the private debt market, rather than just from development banks BNDES and BNB, which have local content requirements for equipment, and that Chinese power companies have also made progress in Brazil, which potentially favors deals with oriental companies.
Making more generation projects feasible to meet customer demand in the free energy market is also a positive factor, as it allows for different contractual arrangements that can also favor the importation of equipment and the use of alternative sources of financing, she added.
“A financing solution with a Chinese bank, for example, would not be surprising,” he said. “I certainly think (the Goldwind contract) could be the first of other projects that we should see soon.”
In addition to CGN, which bought turbines from Goldwind, other Chinese power companies such as China Three Gorges, State Grid and State Power Investment Corp are also present in Brazil.
CGN’s vice president in the country, Gabriel Luaces, told Reuters that the arrival of the new Goldwind turbine in the Brazilian market will be “beneficial for the entire sector”, even given the “concentration” that currently exists in the industry.
He also said that the company will not have as a guideline to buy only Chinese turbines and that it is in talks with several manufacturers for its next projects.
“There is no preference of any kind because it is a Chinese company, Goldwind presented the best commercial offer, considering the implementation schedule that CGN Brazil had in mind for the project,” he explained.
Contract definitions for upcoming projects are expected to arrive “in the next few months,” according to the executive.
Goldwind has already installed more than 60 gigawatts in wind turbines around the world, with assets in 27 countries and six continents. The company has almost 9,000 employees and is a leader in the Chinese wind market.
The company also has a presence in Argentina, where it bought five wind projects in 2017, four of which are currently under construction.