Renewables sweep board as low demand leaves Brazil power auction shadow of former glory

Persistently low demand projections from Brazilian power companies prompted another subdued tender in the South American country, with renewables mopping up all 718MW contracted – a far cry from the former 2GW annual market seen in the 2010s.

New biomass projects accounted for 301MW of the capacity, with PV securing 263MW, wind 161MW and Brazil’s first waste-to-energy project the remaining 20MW.

The total procured is a tiny fraction of the 94GW of projects – including 22.8GW of wind and 32.3GW of solar – registered for the tender.

None of the 1.3GW of coal-fired or 34GW of gas projects registered sold power, both of which had been capped at much higher prices than the renewables sources.

Government officials hailed the outcome as a smooth and competitive auction that led to a realistic outcome.

“It [met] all the demand projected by power companies for 2026 and it attracted a lot of interest from investors. You have to remember that the tender is designed to allow power companies to buy power for the regulated market, and not for investors to contract projects,” Erik Rego, head of the power sector studies department at government energy planning authority EPE, told reporters after the tender.

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The new projects will have to start operating by January 2026 when the power purchase agreements (PPAs) start running.

Wind registered the lowest price at R$160.36/MWh ($28.86/MWh), almost the same level in US dollar terms as prices in July’s A-4 tender, which contracted a similar amount of wind power from 2025 onwards in what marked a return to procurement by the country after a gap since 2019.

In the latest round, solar came in at R$166,89/MWh, a single 141MW hydro-dam sold power at R$174/MWh while biomass sold for R$271.26. The 20MW waste-to-energy project sold power at R$549.35/MWh.

The difference between this tender and July’s is the length of the contract which has been reduced to 15 years from Brazil’s traditional 20-year regulated market PPAs which, combined with the end of wire-fee subsidies, may explain the price stability, said Rego.

Among the wind winners were Norway’s Statkraft with two projects adding up to 71.4MW, local developer Casa dos Ventos with 45MW in seven projects and a local developer with the 44MW Serra das Vacas B project, all located in Brazil’s windy Northeastern region.

So far this year, Brazil has contracted a total of 580MW of new wind capacity and 518MW of solar. With these new contracts, Brazil should top 30GW of onshore wind by 2026, up from 19GW today.

This compares with 1.3GW of new wind capacity contracted in just one of the two tenders held in 2018, before the deep downturn in Brazil’s economy.

“We sold less that we are accustomed to in regulated market tenders, but we expected a small tender. But it’s worth noting that wind registered the lowest price and is the most competitive power technology in Brazil,” said Elbia Silva Gannoun, CEO of the Brazilian Wind Power Association (ABEEólica).

This post appeared first on Recharge News.

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