The term of reference (TR) for offshore wind farms is now available to interested companies, according to Ibama’s environmental licensing coordinator, Roberta Cox.
The official release of the document is scheduled for November.
The TR presents reference information and guidelines for the preparation of the Environmental Impact Study and the Environmental Impact Report (EIA / RIMA), for the construction of offshore wind plants, which must be presented to Ibama for the analysis of the environmental feasibility of the projects.
Currently, seven offshore wind projects in Brazil are applying for environmental licensing:
Three from Neoenergia: Águas Claras (RS), Maravilha (RJ) and Jangada (CE), with 9 GW;
One from Equinor: Aracatu 1 and 2, with 4 GW;
Two from BI Energia: Camocim (CE) and Caucaia (CE), with 1.5 GW; and
One from Eólicas do Brasil: Asa Branca (CE), with 0.7 GW.
In addition to environmental licensing, there are still many discussions about who are the authorities responsible for the sea, waters and the seabed.
The National Electric Energy Agency (ANEEL) has been working to define those responsible for maritime jurisdiction and domain and to facilitate the path for investors in the offshore sector.
“Regulation cannot be a barrier, but a facilitator. Aneel is totally focused on developing consistent regulation (…) We are studying whether we have established a new regulatory framework or adapted the existing one ”, said Aneel superintendent, Carlos Cabral.
For Ben Beckwell, executive head of the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), an association that represents the wind energy sector in the world, government incentives will be needed to stimulate offshore wind farms.
“There will have to be a clear state policy to foster this sector (…) Brazil has fabulous factors, such as the coast of great dimensions, infrastructure and naval and offshore tradition, due to the oil and gas industry”.
The executive pointed out that offshore wind could be an important initiative in the economic recovery of the post-covid country.
“Brazil even has the potential to export offshore energy in the future,” said Beckwell.
Currently, all offshore wind projects, which are under evaluation for environmental licensing at Ibama, are of fixed structures, attached to the seabed. However, several studies are underway to try to reduce the structural weight of wind turbines, allowing the implementation of floating offshore projects.
“Many studies show that floating structures have much less environmental impacts,” said Roberta Cox.
The floating structures allow the implementation of parks farther from the coast, which would mean a higher incidence of winds and even larger projects.
“The tendency is to lower the costs of floating companies. Lowering costs, it will be ‘standardized’ and applied on a large scale, ”said Laura Porto, executive director of renewables at Neoenergia.