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Latin America Report: Mixed Messages on Wind

Vestas on Thursday announced a major restructuring of its global operations, though it remains unclear how the move could affect its plans for the growing and lucrative Latin America market.

Recently, some of the numbers have been encouraging. In the last week in December, Vestas announced 616 megawatts of wind turbine orders for the final month of 2011. While that figure includes projects across Europe and even into Pakistan, the bulk of that figure — 254 MW — will end up in Brazil, which has been aggressively pursuing wind installations and project bids from developers. The country, which has about 1.4 gigawatts (GW) of wind installations today, is looking to surpass 31 GW by 2025. So the market looks viable for the long-term.

However, a recent report by Recharge details the difficulties some projects are facing as they work to get off the ground in Brazil. According to the news site, the country has just under 1 GW of wind projects that are behind schedule, and most of which are in “serious condition.”



Looking to Brazil: German energy giant E.ON plans to buy a 10 percent stake in Brazil’s MPX Energia in a joint venture that could lead to an increased installation of renewables in Brazil and Chile.

Mexico Geothermal: Mexico’s secretary of energy announced plans for a 50-MW geothermal plant in the northern state of Puebla. Mexico ranks third worldwide in geothermal energy generation with 959 MW, putting it behind the United States and the Philippines.

Biomass Partnership: Dupont and NexSteppe have teamed up to develop advanced feedstocks based on sorghum for biofuels, biopower and biobased products that could find their way into Brazlian sugar-to-ethanol mills.

Solar Wine: Santiago-based Exportadora Subsole will use energy generated at a new photovoltaic plant in Chile’s Atacama Desert to pump irrigation water to new table grape vineyards in the region.

Chilean Wind Project: Under an agreement that would endorse energy diversification in Chile, Enel Green Power, through its subsidiary Enel Chile, plans to build a 33-turbine, 99-MW wind farm north of Santiago.



Solar’s Ability to Connect: Assistant Professor Laura Hosman of the Illinois Institute of Technology writes about a team that worked to bring solar-powered Internet connectivity to a small town in Haiti.

Powering Up in Peru: Since last year, a small community in Peru has had free and clean energy, as well as computers and an Internet connection, thanks to solar energy from an aid program largely financed by the European Union.

Solar Laptop On the Way: Tens of thousands of $100 educational solar laptops aimed at helping young students in developing nations are headed to Uruguay and Nicaragua for a two-year study.



Momentum Shifts Away From Brazil

Jim Lane of Biofuels Digest offered his 10 top predictions for the coming year, and one of them would have a direct impact on the Brazil and the Asia markets. Below is his assessment of this potential shift away from South America.

“Brazil has ruled the roost for the past two years – now, sugarcane shortages, surging demand, and the fact that many of the partners have already chosen their partners for the Brazilian shuffle – well, momentum is shifting to Asia. For those that can utilize palm oil or palm waste – think Indonesia and Malaysia. Cassava? Thailand or Vietnam. Cane? That’s India. Need industrial partners, coal, or residues from forest, animal or municipality? That’s China. Thinking algae? Think a little farther to the south, in Algstralia, where cane is also in relatively plentiful supply.”




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Dec. 28-Jan. 4, 2011 Latin America Report: U.S. Solar Company Looks to Mexico and Beyond
Dec. 14-21, 2011 Latin America Report: Environmental Concerns Surface
Dec. 7-14, 2011 Latin America Report: International Firms Chart Course Into Region
Nov. 30-Dec 7, 2011 Latin America Report: U.S. Bill Would Extend Tariff of Brazilian Ethanol
Nov. 23-30, 2011 Latin America Report: Ready for Explosive Growth

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